We Are Orlando
“I love baseball. The game allowed me the influence to impact kids in a positive way. This gives me a chance to talk to some social issues.” (Cal Ripken, Jr.)
It is said that baseball is a child’s game played by men. While true, baseball teams are able to use their influence to do help their communities. This community-oriented mindset is one of my favorite parts of the industry, and I was especially proud of it on June 17, 2016.
In the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting, the Tampa Bay Rays decided to dedicate their (then) upcoming Pride Night in honor of the victims. Remaining available tickets were sold for only $5 with the proceeds donated to the Pulse Victims Fund. Additionally, the 50/50 Raffle proceeds were also donated and all fans at the game received a We Are Orlando shirt. There was a pregame moment of silence and a video dedicated to the victims was aired. Players also donned the We Are Orlando shirts for batting practice and wore Orlando Devil Rays hats throughout the game, which were auction for charity afterwards.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 17, 2016
Billy Bean, MLB’s vice president of inclusion and social responsibility, spoke with the press during batting practice and threw out a first pitch. Amanda Alvear, a victim in the shooting, was represented by her family, who attended the sold-out game.
As the RTC in Tampa Bay, I covered the game on behalf of MLB, the Rays, and the Giants; it was one of my favorite moments in Florida.