Not A Proud Night For The Dodgers

I got caught up in a huge traffic jam last night, both literally and figuratively.

The Dodgers opened a three-game series with their archrival San Francisco Giants last night at Dodger Stadium, and it just so happened I picked up a few Giants fans in town for the game while I was trolling for rideshare occupants.  It took me more than an hour to navigate the parking lot even as the game was going on inside.  And here’s why, per NEWSWEEK’s Kaitlin Lewis:

Christian and Catholic protesters gathered outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, Friday night ahead of the Dodgers’ Pride Night event set to include an appearance by LGBTQ+ activist group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

The L.A. Dodgers found themselves in a whirlwind of backlash last month after rescinding, and subsequently re-inviting, the group to receive a community award during its 10th annual Pride event. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence describes itself as an “order of queer and trans nuns” promoting human rights, community service and spiritual enlightenment.

But critics of the group argue that the “order” mocks the Christian faith. Members of the nonprofit often dress like nuns and, according to its website, “use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.”

Ahead of the Dodgers’ game against the San Francisco Giants Friday night, several protesters gathered in Parking Lot 13 outside the stadium in defiance of the LGBTQ+ group’s scheduled appearance. According to a tweet from Los Angeles Times reporter Andrew Campa, the demonstration was organized by the nonprofit Catholics for Catholics.

Parking lot is filling up for the Catholics for Catholics protest outside Dodger Stadium regarding the Sisters of Indulgence receiving a Community Heroes Award,” Campa wrote alongside a video of the protest forming.

Yep, that’s exactly where rideshare drivers have to navigate.  Took me far longer than I anticipated, killed any chance I had to have the stamina to take on more fares (tbh, it was a VERY emotionally draining night prior to that), and, frankly, even a peaceful protest was noisy and argumentative.  Suffice to say, muttering “shouldn’t love be love?” wasn’t what I should have uttered as I slogged through the traffic.

And as The AP’s David Crary wrote, it was the culmination of a week of no-win situations that exacerbated exactly how determined and dug in both sides of this controversy are to make what they consider to be existential points:

Devout baseball fans might view their teams’ performance as heavenly or hellish, depending on the quality of play. Currently, it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers’ handling of their annual Pride Night — not the team’s record — that has provoked emotional reactions from religious people, including prominent faith leaders, Catholic nuns, and even the team’s All-Star ace.

Indeed, three high-ranking U.S. Catholic leaders this week suggested the team had committed blasphemy. 

Under a barrage of criticism from some conservative Catholics, the team rescinded an invitation to a satirical LGBTQ+ group called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to be honored at Pride Night. The Sisters’ performers — mostly men who dress flamboyantly as nuns — are active in protests and charitable programs.

A week later, after a vehement backlash from LGBTQ+ groups and their allies, the Dodgers reversed course — re-inviting the Sisters’ Los Angeles chapter to be honored for its charity work and apologizing to the LGBTQ+ community.

The Dodgers’ reversal was welcomed by LGBTQ+ allies, including some Catholic nuns. But it infuriated many conservative Catholics, even at the highest levels of the U.S. hierarchy.

On Monday, the team was lambasted in a statement from Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, and the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Military Services.

They asked Catholics to pray on Friday “as an act of reparation for the blasphemies against our Lord we see in our culture today.”

“A professional baseball team has shockingly chosen to honor a group whose lewdness and vulgarity in mocking our Lord, His Mother, and consecrated women cannot be overstated,” the archbishops said. “This is not just offensive and painful to Christians everywhere; it is blasphemy.”

And while the Sisters, and many of their supportive fans, were in the ballpark, part of a sellout crowd for a rivalry game, cheering each other on, I was stuck with trying to wend my way through people who didn’t buy tickets, and who may or may not be fans of any team except Jesus’.

And as the Dodgers did make good on their vow to honor the Sisters, especially after the lobbying of their longtime openly gay press secretart Eric Braverman, the way they ultimately did, as Crary reported, probably isn’t sitting too well with their supporters:

In a brief ceremony held on the field with few fans yet in their seats, the Dodgers gave a Community Hero Award to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The public-address announcer said the group supports meal programs in the Los Angeles area and cited “their outstanding service to the LBGTQ+ community.”

The sparse crowd cheered as the PA announcer introduced Sister Unity and Sister Dominia — two men dressed flamboyantly as nuns.

For the record, after an encouraging six no-hit innings from rookie Emmet Sheehan in his first major league start, the Dodgers’ struggling bullpen imploded, allowing five runs and giving the Giants a late lead.  The Giants’ bullpen returned the favor, allowing a Freddie Freeman game-tying single in the ninth, but then rallied again with two 11th-inning runs to escape with a 7-5 win.  And as the AP’s Beth Harris wrote, the Dodgers abetted their own loss with some inexplicable mistakes of their own:

The Dodgers committed a colossal base-running blunder in the bottom of the 11th.

Mookie Betts was jogging to first on what appeared to be a routine pop-up until the ball dropped for an error by third baseman Casey Schmitt. Betts suddenly put on the speed, but he never looked ahead to see Michael Busch being held up. Busch was thrown out at home in a rundown for the second out. Betts was safe at third on the two-error play before Miguel Rojas grounded out to end the game. 

Betts said it was his decision to run.

“I just thought wrong, I saw the play wrong, I was wrong,” he said.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler was still marveling at the absurdity of it afterward.

“I had to go watch the replay of it like three or four times, it was such a strange play,” he said. “One of the stranger ones I’ve been a part of. I don’t know what to say about it. It was so weird.”

From the perspective of some fans, one might consider that divine intervention.

With this night finally past, the Dodgers will conduct a Christian Faith and Family Day on Sunday afternoon July 30th, reportedly at the urging of star pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who has not been shy about the importance of his faith.  And it’s muted compared to the level expressed on social media last night by the Washington Nationals’ Trevor Williams:

We’ll see if the Sisters and their supporters turn the other cheek, or at least buy tickets for a less celebratory and less intense rivalry game.

I know this much.  I’m not going anywhere near Parking Lot 13 that day.


Share This Article