I made a road trip to Houston the other day (not for reasons I would've thought a couple months ago) to take in a ballgame between my beloved San Francisco Giants and the Astros at Minute Maid Park, which I'd never been to before. Actually, it was the first ballpark I've ever been to outside of California. The ballpark was every bit as distinctively beautiful as the one I've seen on television hundreds of times and reasonably priced. I rate its aesthetics a notch below the AT&T Park back home, but it's a lovely field and I was left dumbstruck why only 14,000 souls showed up to the game that night against the defending champions. (Not that I minded too much, it allowed me the freedom to sneak down to a great seat.)
The Giants wound up losing 4-3, which I didn't mind too much, but what I found troubling was the "Kiss Cam" bit between one of the middle innings. As usual, the cameras scanned around to different couples around the stadium for some chaste smooching, but at the very end, they panned to two Giants leaning on the rail of their dugout.
The joke being of course, ha ha, these two fellers are a couple and they should kiss and that's gross and funny. To my astonishment, much of the crowd around me found this amusing. I couldn't believe they still apparently do this tired gag in 2015 in a Major League stadium or that people still think the idea of a same sex couple is something worthy of mocking.
As chagrined as I was by the scene unfolding on the JumboTron, I was even more disappointed by one of the two Giants shown on the screen. The instant he realized what was happening, he bolted upright, a mixture of angry and embarrassed, and immediately retreated to the bench away from his teammate. The notion of even being joked about as someone who might want to kiss another man seemed to bother him to the core. Instead of shaking his head or waving it off good-naturedly, he gave license to the people who thought it'd be hilarious to end the Kiss Cam video with a shot of two visiting ballplayers. He confirmed to the hooting and hollering crowd that the idea of being gay is worthy of derision, something to be made fun of.
I'm not going to name the player here, but I'm going to have trouble ever quite looking at him the same way again.
The whole sorry episode reminded me of how Manu Ginobili handled it, when he was shown on the Kiss Cam with teammates on a couple of occasions.
In Atlanta, in 2009...
And then this one, also in 2009, maybe at Dallas? Maybe at home? (Do they have Taco Cabanas elsewhere?)
In closing, Manu Ginobili is a BOSS, and we should all strive to be more like him in every way.