SAN FRANCISCO – The A’s decision to stage their inaugural LGBT Pride night generated plenty of reaction – some positive, some negative – on social media.
After seeing some negative backlash about the promotion, including some fans saying they wouldn’t be attending the June 17 game, Eireann Dolan sprung to action.
Dolan, the girlfriend of A’s closer Sean Doolittle, posted a blog saying she would offer to buy anyone’s tickets who didn’t want to attend the game and donate them to Our Space, a local homeless shelter and community center for LGBT youth.
From there, she and Doolittle decided to set up a GoFundMe page to raise more money to buy more tickets to donate to the shelter. They committed to matching donations up to $3,000. In the four days since the page was created, more than $31,000 of donations had come in.
“I shouldn’t be overwhelmed because I know Oakland A’s fans are incredibly generous and incredibly welcoming,” Dolan said. “These are kids at Our Space that, for whatever reason, have been kicked out of their homes for being who they are. They’ve run away from home for being who they are, and they need a family and community more than anything.”
Other major league teams, including the Giants, host LGBT Pride nights. The A’s decided to host their own shortly after Billy Bean, a former big leaguer who came out as gay after he retired, addressed the team at spring training. Bean, MLB’s recently appointed Ambassador for Inclusion, is only talking to teams who extend the invitation.
The issue hits close to home for Dolan, whose mother, Kathy, came out to her as gay when Dolan was a teenager. Kathy’s partner, Elise, is from the Bay Area and a diehard A’s fan.
Doolittle said he’s proud of Dolan for taking initiative on the issue.
“When we saw the post of what the A’s were going to do, we thought ‘That’s cool,’” Doolittle said. “And by the time we got done reading some of the (negative) comments -- by the time I was doing reading it -- she had a plan of what she was going to do.”