The 2011 Major League Baseball regular season has been a particularly memorable one for those of us who support LGBT inclusion and equality and follow the national pastime. For the first time in the sport's history, eight teams this summer took the time and effort to record a video message of support, aimed at welcoming and encouraging LGBT young people. These teams' involvement with the It Gets Better campaign was incredibly touching, especially for those of us who love and support both baseball and LGBT young people.
GLAAD, through our friendship with MLB, sent a list of recommendations and suggestions to each of the teams who participated in this project this year, as well as several teams who may be planning to participate next year. In addition, we specifically consulted with two of the teams - the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers - who made It Gets Better videos during the season. Several other teams we spoke with indicated that they are planning to produce similar materials in the future, so we are optimistic that the roster of teams sending these messages of support will continue to grow.
We'd like to thank and congratulate the Red Sox, the Dodgers, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Chicago Cubs, the Baltimore Orioles, the Seattle Mariners (who produced their video along with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, the WNBA's Seattle Storm and MLS's Seattle Sounders) and the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, who were the first MLB team to create an It Gets Better video.
Although the videos are all similar, they each have unique personal touches. Many of the teams took the extra care to send these messages of support not just to their English-speaking fans, but also to those baseball fans who speak Spanish and Japanese. The Cubs' video included a message from part-owner Laura Ricketts, who is a lesbian. The Red Sox involved several of their biggest fans. The Mariners teamed up with their neighbors from other sports. The Rays featured a personal message from Johnny Damon, who himself was bullied when he was younger. The Dodgers were the only team to specifically mention gender identity.
You can watch all eight MLB It Gets Better videos below, and please encourage your local team to speak out and stand up for its fans who are LGBT young people. And to find out more about how you can personally show your support for LGBT young people, click here to read more about Spirit Day.