Cubs’ Marcus Stroman offers support as MLB sends mixed signals during Pride Month

Stroman announced donations to Brave Space Alliance In Chicago, Hetrick-Martin Institute and The 519 in honor of Pride Month.

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Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman.

Pitcher Marcus Stroman discussed what being an ally means to him before the Cubs’ annual Pride Celebration at Wrigley Field.

Erin Hooley/AP

On June 1, the first day of Pride Month, the discourse around Major League Baseball was fueling anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.

The Dodgers had invited, uninvited and reinvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to be honorees at their Pride Night. The Blue Jays’ Anthony Bass had reposted a video on Instagram that called for boycotts of Target and Bud Light for pro-LGBTQ+ stances.

But Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman’s announcement that day carried a different tone. He was donating to three organizations — in Toronto, New York and Chicago, the three cities he has played for in his MLB career — that were, as he put it in his post, “empowering the LGBTQIA+ community.”

“Baseball is very old in a lot of ways, not very progressive,” Stroman said Tuesday before the Cubs hosted their annual Pride Celebration at Wrigley Field during their series opener against the Pirates. “I think the world should be accepting of all people. I think it’s that simple. I don’t think there’s anything else really to it.

“I’m not saying you have to be a certain type of way, but to throw your beliefs on other people, I think, is ridiculous. Obviously, I know people are religious and all that, and I love that, and they have every right to be. But to put it on anybody else, I don’t think that’s ever the right thing to do.”

The Cubs’ celebration included a Pride market on Gallagher Way, themed music and gear. During pregame festivities, the Cubs presented the Legacy Project with a check to help fund a bronze memorial marker in honor of Glenn Burke, the first openly gay MLB player.

Stroman, the Cubs’ most vocal player on LGBTQ+ rights and issues, showed his support weeks earlier.

“My career has afforded me the ability to support causes that are near and dear to me and those around me,” he posted June 1, announcing that he was donating to Brave Space Alliance, Hetrick-Martin Institute and The 519. “I hope that my contribution will further the ongoing efforts of the LGBTQIA+ community in raising awareness, combating discrimination and helping to celebrate diversity and inclusion.”

Brave Space Alliance, a Black- and trans-led LGBTQ+ center on the South Side, is the organization Stroman highlighted in Chicago.

“Obviously, I can’t speak on exactly what they have been through,” Stroman said of allyship. “But I know what I’ve been through being an African American, growing up in this world. So as far as being on the outside looking in, I feel like I can understand them in those regards. And to be the minority. I’ve always been the minority. So to be the minority, where you have masses of people always speaking against you, it’s hard.”

Roster moves

The Cubs put left-handed reliever Brandon Hughes on the 15-day injured list with recurring inflammation in his left knee, an issue he’d dealt with all year. In a corresponding move, they recalled utility player Miles Mastrobuoni.

They called up left-hander Anthony Kay to give them a lefty in the bullpen in Hughes’ absence. To make room for Kay on the active and 40-man rosters, they optioned right-hander Jeremiah Estrada to Triple-A and transferred Nick Burdi (appendectomy) from the 15-day IL to the 60-day.

Kay made his Cubs debut in the Cubs’ 11-3 win against the Pirates, retiring the side in order in the ninth inning.

Happ exits

Left fielder Ian Happ drove in four of the Cubs’ 11 runs Tuesday, with a three-run homer in the first inning and a bases-loaded hit by pitch in the seventh. But Christopher Morel, who hit his own three-run shot to put the game out of reach, replaced him in the eighth inning.

After the game, manager David Ross said Happ’s calf tightened up on him, prompting the move.

“We’ll see how he presents tomorrow,” Ross said. “I just talked to him. He doesn’t seem very concerned, but a lot of adrenaline probably pumping right now.”

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