Dodger Stadium wedding shows progress in LGBTQ community

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Erik Braverman walk down a driveway leading to the Dodgers dugout canoe.

Jonathan Cottrell will walk down an alley leading to the visitors’ canoe.

Together they will meet on the pitch mound in front of around 80 family members and close friends to engage in an ancient ritual, on ancient soil, in a moment of great enlightenment.

Braverman, a Executive Vice President of the Dodgers, and Cottrell, a software engineer, officially unite on January 21 in one of the crown jewels of what was once the most intolerant of sport.

The two are married at Dodger Stadium.

“I hope this shows that in a sport like baseball, even if you don’t feel like you belong, you can still find a place,” said Braverman, senior vice president of marketing, communications and communications. diffusion.

Dodger Stadium has been Braverman’s place since he joined the organization in 2008. It became a cornerstone for him when he came out publicly as gay in 2015 and felt the full support of a group. of Guggenheim owners determined to mend a long-standing fractured relationship with local LGBTQ people. community.

“Dodger Stadium is a place that I have called home for 15 years, a place I have gone out publicly, a place where I have seen amazing games, but a place that I have never been able to use to. myself, ”Braverman said. “I approached Lon [Rosen, Dodgers’ chief marketing officer] and said, ‘I want this for my wedding, but does that sound selfish?’ ”

Rosen’s response struck at the heart of a Dodgers front-office culture that emphasized inclusiveness.

“I think that would be perfect,” Rosen told him.

Perfect, it’s, in many ways, a marriage for two guys who were once outcasts in the old-school sport but now use baseball as the backdrop for the most important moment of their lives.

“The Dodgers and gay marriage… The Dodgers and gay marriage… that’s what you’ll see in every photo… it will be a constant reminder of how the sport has changed.”

Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports.com

Jonathan Cottrell, left, and Erik Braverman take a selfie at the 2020 World Series in Arlington, Texas.

(Erik Braverman)

“Getting married in front of anyone takes guts, but to do it at Chavez Ravine Cathedral?” said Billy Bean, a former gay dodger who is vice president of the MLB and special assistant to the commissioner. “It’s a transparent example of the environment that Dodger property has created for the people who work there. This does not happen in all stages.

The wishes will be pronounced on the pitcher’s butt. Their names will be engraved on the video panels. The guests will be seated on the ground around them. You will be greeted at the bar in the left pavilion. Some music will be played by organist Dieter Ruehle.

Yes, guests will receive a bobblehead doll representing the couple holding hands. Yes, guests are encouraged to wear a touch of blue. And yes, absolutely, there will be Dodger Dogs.

“You can’t have an event at Dodger Stadium without Dodger Dogs, can you?” Said Braverman.

It’s not just about Braverman and Cottrell’s wedding, but also the wedding of baseball and the LGBTQ community, an event that will produce images that will resonate long after the rice has been thrown away.

“Baseball metaphorically and physically wraps its arms around this marriage,” said Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports.com. “The Dodgers and gay marriage… The Dodgers and gay marriage… that’s what you’ll see in every photo… it will be a constant reminder of how the sport has changed.”

It will also be a constant reminder of how the Dodgers have changed since Guggenheim bought the team in 2012. The organization previously had a fractured relationship with the LGBTQ community. Today, its executives say Rosen’s leadership changed that.

“There have been things that have happened in Dodgers history, and we wanted to make sure the LGBTQ community knows that we are embracing them and all communities,” Rosen said. “I mean, these are our fans.”

It’s the organization that once shunned gay outfielder Glenn Burke, having traded him to Oakland in 1978 after he allegedly turned down the monetary offer of then-CEO Al Campanis to marry a woman. . A year earlier, Burke and his teammate Dusty Baker were credited with inventing the high-five.

It’s also the organization that once kicked Danielle Goldey and Meredith Kott out of a game in 2000 for kissing in the stands. The organization then apologized and donated 5,000 tickets to gay rights groups, but the damage was done.

It is also the organization of Tommy Lasorda Jr., who turned out to be homosexual and died in 1991 at the age of 33 of complications from AIDS. He was the son of famous manager Tom Lasorda, but his father never acknowledged his son’s sexuality and has repeatedly denied that he succumbed to complications from AIDS despite the death certificate stating otherwise.

Much has changed with the Dodgers since then, starting with Guggenheim’s focus on a rekindled Pride Night. The first time Rosen scheduled one in September 2013, several Dodgers players complained, and some even refused to take the field in pre-game ceremonies. The Dodgers ignored their complaints and have since turned the annual affair into a lively party.

“This is the biggest and most rugged pride party of all professional sports, period. Nothing comes close, ”Zeigler said. “There is no team in professional sport that is more welcoming or embraces the community more year round than the Dodgers.”

Their commitment to the community was reinforced in 2015 when Braverman became one of the most senior officials in sport to publicly come out as gay.

“I always pride myself on being the guy backstage, I never wanted to be the type of guy in the spotlight, and talking to Lon and Stan [Kasten, club president], I asked them, “What’s the use of going out, why would I do that?” Braverman remembers. “They said it wasn’t for you, it was for everyone.”

Braverman now advises people in similar situations in the world of sports as the Dodgers continue to include and diversify.

Two of their co-owners are Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss, who are married. They also kiss EJ, the son of co-owner of Magic Johnson, a TV personality who has been revealed to be gay.

“None of this comes as a surprise,” Zeigler said. “It’s part of the Dodgers legacy. “

The Dodgers family will soon grow with one with the inclusion of Cottrell, whom Braverman met three years ago at a swimming pool in Mexico.

Braverman, 51, was hit.

“I was immediately attracted to him physically, of course, but beyond that, by his intellect and his ability to adapt to any situation,” he said.

Cottrell, 31, fell in love with the look.

“Erik’s big brown eyes which still have a playful glow and his soft voice on the radio immediately appealed to me,” he said.

Together, they sent out wedding invitations that look like a ticket stub. Together, they will get married in a ceremony that will end to the sound of “I Love LA”

There, no surprise. The Dodgers play this song after every win.



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