All around the nation this weekend, tanned, muscled men will don form-fitting outfits, play with balls and then shower together.
In Denver, groups of gays and lesbians will watch them do it as they take part in Pride Night at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies. In all this year, nine teams from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Boston Red Sox will host "baseball gay days," as Cyd Zeigler Jr., cofounder of Outsports.com, calls them.
"No one really knows when the first one happened," says Zeigler, who describes his Web site as "ESPN for homos." "But the summer of 2001 is when it took off. The Chicago Cubs was the first widely publicized one, and that summer the Braves and the Twins also had them."
Zeigler coordinated the Mets' gay day at Shea Stadium in 2004 and last year threw out the first pitch at the one held at the Phillies' Citizens Bank Park. (The Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus sang the national anthem.) He says attendance ranges from a few hundred to more than 1,000, and that some organizations including the Toronto Blue Jays have hired promoters to run the events themselves. (See gaybaseballdays .com for more information.) Even the Texas Rangers have hosted a Gay Day.
Not the Cardinals, though.
Joe Strohm, the club's vice president of ticket sales, says that's because no one has ever approached the team about the idea.
"We'd be very open to having a new group at the ballpark," says Strohm. "We would treat any group the same as any other group that comes."
Right down to the Kiss Cam?
"That is, actually, an interesting question. That one would be beyond me I don't control that particular one."
Stoner Diaries Historians in Illinois recently discovered property records indicating that a young Abraham Lincoln was a landowner early in his life, putting the kibosh on the accepted theory that he'd slacked through his twenties and only later blossomed into a statesman.
"He's not living this bohemian life where it's kind of carefree, no property, no worries, where he can sit under the trees and read," Illinois state historian Tom Schwartz told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Is that so? Unreal owned property in our twenties and did bong hits on the way to cash the rent checks. Having resolved to do our own sleuthing, we unearthed in a mid-Illinois desk drawer a hitherto-undiscovered scrap from the diaries of a 24-year-old Abe Lincoln.
October 12, 1833: Every blade of grass is a study; to produce two where there was but one is both a profit and a pleasure. I am so high. This concept of "land-owning" is a fine deal. I have purchased a large cabin at a fair price and now live in one half and rent the other to a husky young fellow named Theodore. His rent pays the debt on the cabin, and each month I receive a stipend, as well. I am free! Theodore is nice, though a little uptight.
November 15, 1833: I have a new adversary, and, alas, he is my tenant. I will be entirely frank: I rather think that Theodore is a pain in the rear. He nags me, and it is constant. Scythe the grass. Mend the roof. Relocate the commode? Pshaw! That is a foul endeavor, and I most certainly will not. Winter approaches. Theodore keeps reminding me of this as he points at the broken window. Bitch bitch bitch. The wind howls through the prairies and hits our faces when we sleep oh for the day when someone invents duct tape! Perhaps I shall grow a beard.
February 13, 1834: Huzzah! The night of my 25th birthday was a rollicking good time. I would say that perhaps we even woke the dead. We most surely woke Theodore, who had little patience for our 4 a.m. arrival, or for the tunes coming out of the "guitar" which my dear friend Franklin plucked mightily. Cease my midnight oratories!? How dare he? I am the gentleman of property here. This is the cabin of Abe, by Abe, for Abe, and Abe shall orate whenever, however! Last night we filled our glasses with sour mash from Kentucky. This morning we filled the commode with vomit. For my birthday I got a stovepipe hat. It is fucking awesome.
July 4, 1834: The Fourth of July has not quite dwindled away; it is still a great day for burning fire-crackers!!! I plainly see now that I cannot hide my contempt for this dare I say? buzz-killer. While we celebrate the Union, Theodore frets about scorching the crops. After we party, I intend to sit under the trees and read.
All the Rage
Danny Massier is a single, 43-year-old Saskatchewan steel mill clerk who spends his six weeks of paid vacation every year traveling to U.S. indoor football games with his 65-year-old mother. Massier's life dream was recently fulfilled when he won an eBay auction entitling him to suit up with the RiverCity Rage for a June 23 game at the Savvis Center against the Tennessee Riversharks. His $1,326 winning bid went to our local United Way chapter.
Unreal: Wow. So, how is indoor football different from arena football, NFL football and football played with a folded-up piece of notebook paper all of which are often played indoors?
Danny Massier: Indoor football was derived from arena football. The big difference is there are no "rebound nets" behind the back of the end zone. In arena football you can throw a pass that can bounce off the nets and back to the receiver. Also in indoor football the players don't have to play both ways arena football has the rule that you can only have two "specialists."
Besides yourself, are there other fans of the sport?
Yes. There are five indoor leagues at the moment. I go to OurSportCentral.com to find out all the info on indoor football. Their tagline is "major coverage of minor leagues." You can find just about anything on there women's football and all that.
For one quarter, you're on the kickoff coverage team. If the guy with the ball runs toward you, what will you do?
I was never a big guy, but the last time I played tackle football before high school my strategy was to get in the guy's way, let him almost run over me, but wrap my arms around him and tackle him. It worked.
Do you think you can summon the rage to call yourself a Rage?
Oh yes. I'm pretty sure I can get outrageous and be one of the Rage. I don't know how I'm going to sleep the night before, or even the night afterwards.
Local Blog O' the Week
Author: Deborah Meister
About the blogger: "I divide my time among my family, teaching, writing, making music, the study of theology, and developing better spiritual habits."
Recent Highlight (June 6): After two grueling days at Children's Hospital, fighting the nurses, doctors, and aids, one grandmother and a mom, this little boy enjoyed a couple of hours at the St. Louis Zoo.
"So, Jon, what was your favorite part of the zoo?"
"Mmmmmm, I like elephants."
"They are really big. Do they scare you?"
"Not these elephants. They were hot and wanted to squirt water all over themselves. And two of them are going to have baby elephants soon."
"What other animals impressed you at the zoo?"
"I thought the penquins were pretty cool. They stink though. I had to hold my breath inside the cave. And the fish are fun to watch, too. FISH!!"
"You were very brave at the hospital. What did they have you do?"
"I had to hold really still while this big machine was lowered over my chest. I did not hold still and they made me do it again later."
"That was an xray machine. Did they take blood, too?"
"They waited til the end of the first day. I screamed a lot. They could not find blood vessels in my arms. Before that they did a sweat test and wrapped plastic around my arm."
"You knew you were allergic to peanuts before you went to the hospital. Did they confirm this allergy?"
"Yes, I can't have peanuts like the elephants can, but I hope I can play with the elephants anyway. And I am allergic to peas, which are disgusting anyway so who cares and I can't eat wheat."
"I am sure you will find many other things to eat. What else did the doctors learn?"
"I have an unusually formed aortic path that they call an arch. It is serious, but they are going to help me and I won't get resptr restripo repsti colds and stuff so much. That will be a good thing."