The first Mets-sponsored Pride Night on Aug. 13 against the Padres at Citi Field will proceed as planned, event organizer and LGBT Network CEO David Kilmnick said Tuesday.
Kilmnick said the community feels even more strongly about attending following the mass killings by a gunman early Sunday at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub frequented by members of the LGBT community.
Kilmnick said that during an emotional vigil for the shooting victims held Monday night in Bay Shore, he was approached by “dozens of people who shared with me the excitement of going to Pride Night, not fear but excitement because these are the types of events we need in our society and in our life where we’re going to go to a ballgame and you know that we’re going to be protected and just forget about at least for a couple of hours the hate that’s going on in the world.’’
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is scheduled to attend the event, according to an industry source.
An estimated 5,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender fans are expected to attend. “People were coming up to me saying, ‘We’re excited, we bought our tickets, this is something we need and I’m so glad that we have this,’ ” Kilmnick said. “It had the opposite effect. This is more of a relief that there is this Pride Night happening.’’
Kilmnick has no security concerns. “Ballparks and stadiums are well-staffed with security,” he said. “We know that when we walk into ballparks bags are checked and that there are security checks that’s already become part of our life and going to major venues like Citi Field.’’
The Mets would not say if security will be enhanced for the Saturday evening game, which will include a pregame concert near the Jackie Robinson Rotunda inside Citi Field. “Our security plans by their very nature are confidential and we will have no further comment,’’ the team said in a statement.
Part of the proceeds from tickets bought on mets.com/pride will go toward anti-bullying programs in Long Island and New York City schools. “The Mets are standing up saying that we’re going to support anti-bullying,’’ Kilmnick said, “and that’s inclusive of LGBT youth.’’