Ace Moses is not a huge Orioles fan like their mother or sister. The Pride game was the only game they were really excited to attend. But now that they’ve seen the Orioles’ efforts to include the LGBTQ+ community, they’re much more inclined to think well of the team.

“You know they get hate for it. But, based on how they just handle it, like they don’t care, they still have it, I love it,” Moses said. “I feel so included.”

Beth Moses, Ace’s mom, is incredibly proud of the Orioles for hosting Pride Night. She was surprised to see how many fans were already at the stadium when they arrived before the game Thursday night at Camden Yards.

The Orioles celebrated their sixth Pride Night with 29,479 in attendance. For members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies, the night highlighted the importance of inclusivity in sports and how far baseball has come in its allyship to the queer community.

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Division III baseball players and boyfriends Cole Philpott and Aiden Phipps threw out ceremonial first pitches. Greg Bader, the Orioles’ executive vice president and chief operations officer, invited the two to throw out the first pitch for Pride Night after meeting Phipps while he was looking for an internship.

“We are two college athletes, who are gay athletes, that are showing that it’s very possible to play a masculine-dominated sport,” Phipps said. “So I think it’s super cool to get the opportunity to throw out the first pitch on a night like this.”

Pride nights are important because they show sports are for everyone, Phipps said. Although sports such as women’s soccer have much more prominent LGBTQ+ representation, Phipps hopes Pride celebrations can help normalize acceptance for gay athletes in men’s professional sports.

Phipps and Philpott delivered the opening pitches side by side, both sporting Orioles Pride jerseys.

Philpott, a Bethesda native, said he would never forget the experience.

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“It was so awesome to see all the support, and I’m looking forward to the future of inclusivity and acceptance of LGBTQ+ in sports,” he said.

Camden Yards was decorated with a plethora of Pride flags, most of which were the Progress Pride flag, which includes the colors of the Transgender Pride flag and black and brown stripes to represent marginalized communities.

Ian Daniels (left), Mike Thomas (center) and Yufeng Shen dance and laugh as a 360-degree camera rig spins around them Thursday night at Camden Yards. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

The team handed out Pride-themed jerseys to the first 10,000 fans, and they were a huge hit. Despite the high temperatures, many fans immediately donned their jerseys as soon as they received them.

But the Orioles didn’t stop with decorations and a giveaway. They reached out to local community organizations, inviting them to take part in the celebrations. Local groups, including Queer City Sports and Baltimore Safe Haven, set up tables in the outfield picnic area with giveaways. The Orioles also set up Pride-themed crafts and face painting for fans.

Geunique Evans, who works with Baltimore Safe Haven, believes the night was important to show unity in the city. It showed others that they were not alone and that there are people making a difference.

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Baltimore Safe Haven is a nonprofit providing support to LGBTQ+ people in need.

Queer City Sports is a recreational sports organization in Baltimore and several other cities that focuses on fostering a community through sports, volunteer Patrick Marcoux said.

Marcoux grew up in New England as a Red Sox fan. He remembers how baseball, and professional sports in general, used to be hypermasculine and exclusive to anyone who was not a cisgender man. He recognized that it was important that the Orioles held a Pride Night, considering that not every team holds one. On the Thursday night the Orioles played the Rangers, the sole team without a Pride celebration in 2024

Regardless of the opponent, the night served as a beacon for inclusion and equality in sports to the fans who attended.

“For them to expand and include everybody and have these kinds of programs and these kinds of nights to try to progress away from what was a really dark era of sports is great,” Marcoux said.

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Kim Isaacs sports a Team Pride jersey during the game Thursday night. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)