Let's Play Ball! Chicago prepares for sports-filled weekend

Wed. July 9, 2014 10:10 AM by Anthony Morgano

out at wrigley, 2013

photo credit // andy ambrosius/chicagopride.com

Out at Wrigley 2014 and the 2nd annual National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony come to Chicago Friday and Saturday

Chicago, IL - Out at Wrigley, the nation's largest annual LGBT sporting event, returns this Saturday, July 12, when the Cubs take on the Atlanta Braves in the now 100-year-old Wrigley Field. The event is again teaming up with the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, now on its second year, to bring gay Chicago a fun, sports-filled weekend.

"We could not have been happier for the success of last years events," BIll Gubrud, the driving force behind both events, told ChicagoPride.com. "The positive feedback we have received has been overwhelming...My favorite part of the whole weekend was having the chance to meet the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame (NGLSHOF) inductees. They are an amazing group of people with so much history and stories to share."

Gubrud started the NGLSHOF last year with the goal of recognizing and preserving the history of individuals and organizations whose achievements have advanced sports and athletics for the LGBT community. It will also provide outreach and education to the sporting world to help make it a more welcoming and safe space for LGBT youth.

Last year's induction ceremony, their first, saw 26 inductees recognized in their inaugural class, including several who attended to ceremony, including Dave Pallone, who was fired from the MLB in the 80s for being the the first and only major sporting official who is gay, transgendered sports writer Christina Kahrl, Andrew Goldstein, the first out lacrosse player, and David Kopay, the former NFL running back who, in the 70s, became the first professional athlete to announce he was gay.

It's been a big year for the fledgling group. They have since been recognized by the commissioners of Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and National Football League. Not only did the recognize the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, but it's inductees as well. NGLSHOF was also recognized by Mayor Emanuel and Governor Quinn and the Federation of Gay Games.

"It's been overwhelming to receive so much recognition," Gubrud said.

"We are in talks with major donors to help us buy or renovate a space for the Sports Hall of Fame -- we have been approached by two organizations as well to help us secure a location," he continued. "We, the board of directors, are vetting people with educational and lecture backgrounds to help spearhead the educational program. Everything has just started picking up."

This year's ceremony takes place on Friday, July 11, and inducts a smaller than the last. It includes Billy Bean, retired MLB player; Wade Davis, Executive Director of You Can Play and retired NFL player; Tom Daley, Olympic Medal Winning Diver; Gareth Thomas, retired rugby player; Esara Tuaolo, retired NFL player; Brittney Griner, decorated collegiate athlete, active WNBA player; Diana Nyad, endurance swimmer; Fallon Fox, Mixed Martial Artist; Chris Mosier, founder of transathlete.com; Nike, corporation; Stand Up Foundation, anti-bullying non-profit and posthumous rewards to Mark Bingham, rugby player; Jerry Smith, NFL player; and Mayor George Moscone, Straight Ally, Former Mayor of San Francisco..

Like last year, some of the inductees will be in attendance at the ceremony itself, but new to this year several of them will also be sitting in the VIP section at Out at Wrigley the day after. These include Billy Bean, Esera Tauolo, Fallon Fox, Chris Mosier, Stand up Foundation, representatives for Mark Bingham and Nike Corporation.

Per usual, tickets for Out at Wrigley are being sold in two tiers. The basic terrace reserved tickets (sections 239/240) go for $56, while the VIP tickets go for $130 and include a pass to the fabulous Budweiser Patio Deck, a complimentary gift bag, all you can eat and all you can drink beer and wine. Saturday's game starts around 3 p.m. with pre and post parties planned at nearby Charlie's, 3726 N Broadway.

Every VIP ticket purchase also receives two tickets to the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Friday, July 11 at the Center on Halsted. A hour of hosted bar and hors d'oeuvres at 6 p.m. is followed by the ceremony itself at 7.

For more information, or to purchase your tickets, check out outatwrigley.com.