LGBT Pride Night
Mariners at Orioles Classic
Wednesday, June 27, 7:05 p.m.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards
333 W. Camden St.
Not many people can spin their lifelong passion into a career, but that’s exactly what Greg Bader has done.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Bader knew by age 12 that he wanted to be a part of the Orioles organization. A lifelong fan, he found himself feeling love for the team even in losing seasons.
At the time, he didn’t realize that he could be an openly gay man and work in Major League Baseball. Even while he was pursing his degree in liberal arts from Trinity College, the idea felt incompatible. Bader points to how things have developed culturally in regard to his comfort level with the organization.
“The Orioles and Major League Baseball created an environment that allowed me to not feel different,” Bader says. “Acceptance starts at the top and the way I have been treated is a clear indication of the support of the executive management toward diversity and inclusiveness.”
And it’s not just token inclusion — the team’s first official LGBT Pride Night will be held June 27 at their game against the Seattle Mariners.
During the past offseason, the Baltimore Orioles’ front office staff made a concerted effort to create more theme nights to target particular interests.
Pride Night tickets are $35 and include a special edition O’s Pride cap. They’re also offering a VIP package for $70, which gets ticketholders into a pregame Center Field Roof Deck party with drinks and music.
A portion of the proceeds will go to Moveable Feast, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that provides food and services to individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS, breast cancer and those afflicted with terminal illness. The Washington Blade is media sponsor for the event.
For several years, a group of gay men in Baltimore had organized an annual LGBT night at Camden Yards in an unofficial capacity. The built-in base gives the Orioles a lead-in to creating something special for the LGBT community. As of press time, more than 900 tickets have been sold for the event.
“It was a natural fit to take a grassroots outing and make it official,” says Bader, vice president of marketing and communications for the Orioles. “This is really exciting for us and it promises to be a great, top-notch experience.”
Bader’s path with the Orioles is a classic case of working hard and moving up through the ranks. He worked as an intern with the Orioles after his freshman year of college and returned each season, moving from ticket seller to the scoreboard control room.
After graduating from Trinity College, he was hired in a full-time capacity and worked in premium ticket sales and suites. He segued into spring training coordinator for several years before assuming the role of advertising and affiliate relations manager.
In his current role as vice president of communications and marketing, Bader oversees the club’s marketing, advertising, public relations, broadcasting, publishing, productions and community relations efforts.
Now in his 25th season with the O’s, Bader is married to husband John and has a few tips for those hoping to work in professional sports.
“Always give that extra effort in any duty, any task,” Bader says. “A good way to get noticed is to over-perform.”
Throwing out the first pitch at the Orioles’ LGBT Pride Night will be gay Major League Baseball umpire Dale Scott, who retired earlier this year. Joining Scott on the field for pregame festivities will be Billy Bean, Major League Baseball vice president and special assistant to the commissioner.
“I’m looking forward to attending and supporting the Orioles LGBT Pride Night on June 27,” Bean says. “I can’t think of many better places to be than Camden Yards on a summer evening meeting lots of proud O’s fans.”
With 81 home games, the Orioles have planned a season-long schedule of promotions, special events and theme nights. In addition to LGBT Pride Night, the slate will include “Star Wars” Night, Bark at Oriole Park, “Game of Thrones” Night and Yoga at the Yard.
“At the end of the day, LGBT Pride Night is one of several initiatives that celebrate diversity, whether LGBT or other diverse audiences,” Bader says. “They are meant to be fun, family oriented and great entertainment. Everyone is welcome at Oriole Park.”