Heirloom Memories: Rainbows, Glitter and Baseball

Out in the Stands in the Metrodome 12
Me, with friends Bryan and Chris of the North Country Bears at Out in the Stands, 2009. All photos by and courtesy of Randy Stern

This year, homosexuality was tossed around in the media, the political arena and in the sports field like a hot potato smothered spiked with E. coli. From ESPN staffers to small-time bloggers sports bloggers were in the middle of another culture war between the so-called Tea Party and some of the rest of us.

We brave souls – ranging from Queers4Gears’ Michael Myers to LZ Granderson over at ESPN – have stretched the rainbow boundary into the realm of masculinity while holding our own on our own front. Even Wide Rights’ Pete Olson and former umpire Dave Pallone were in the midst of the firefight for culture, community and our love of sports.

Then, there was me: A baseball blogger, who refuses to be fabulous, cannot stand Glee and Lady Gaga…and has emerged unscathed from any hatred by anyone.

(For the record, I love Absolutely Fabulous! Ehem…anyway…)

The only hate I got was from fans of certain teams whom are rivals. Thankfully, no expletives were used in the throes of these feeble diatribes from the haters.

The journey of The Heirloom was fabulous in its own way. No glitter – just honest baseball. No A-List New York or Muscle Bear attitude. I kept that crap clear from the eyes of many who read this – um, you!

Then again, I don’t subscribe to that bullshit!

During these four seasons, I was glad to experience the bridging of these two worlds together – of sports and homosexuality. It turned out just fine. To my surprise, I found acceptance from you as an equal. That eased a lot of tension I had in doing this work. It also inspired me to do a few things with it.

Out in The Stands 2010 2

Two of them came in an annual event put on by Lavender Magazine, Out in The Stands. I attended the ones in 2009 (in the Metrodome) and 2010 (at Target Field). It was great to be a part of a “gay day at the ballpark” event and reinforced my kinship with friends who shared the experience along with me.

I never mentioned the event specifically in the the first one. I will admit that I enjoyed that one more than the other. The reason was the number of friends from the Bear groups that were in that section we were sitting and the mellowness of the group from the pre-game “tailgate” at the Aloft hotel near the ballpark through the end of the game.

The year after was marked by a growing increase in ticket demand. Understand that the first year at Target Field was impacted by high capacity games, getting about 400-500 people together was a challenge that was met. Being outside was fine, but – boy, was it hot! Some of us hung out in the concourses to see the game away from our seats. There wasn’t the vibe that was there the year before.

As for this year – a scheduling conflict prevented me from attending. I never heard anything about it, except for the photos in Lavender.

Perhaps the one thing that kept The Heirloom going were my friends – both gay and straight. I am fortunate to have a group of friends who are into most of the things I am – baseball, included. A few of them were willing participants in various games at Target Field, the Metrodome, Midway Stadium (St. Paul Saints) and Miller Park (Milwaukee Brewers). During the time of The Heirloom, my friends saw the passion I had for the game – the same one my mother passed onto her sons. I was glad they did. They inspired me to reach for another level with this blog.

My regret? There shouldn’t be one. So what if The Advocate didn’t pick up on this blog? So what if the Star Tribune or Pioneer Press…and so forth! This blog was not a competition on which homosexual would be the pink beacon for the game of baseball. This was not a beauty contest on which gay man would be the diva of the game.

No, The Heirloom was done without flying the rainbow flag and marching in front of some bloody parade in June. Nor did it raise the ire of Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and their ilk.

That is a hell of an accomplishment to be proud of.



  1. Matthew Stern via Facebook

    …you’ve always been one to take a sledgehammer to stereotypes. (In high school, you were a coach on the JV baseball team while I, the straight brother, performed in musical theater.) Your blog made an important point: Gay people are just like everybody else! That truth is the biggest threat to Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and their ilk.

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