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Arkansas Travelers event canceled after Drag Queen denied first pitch

Disputes over pregame festivities forced the Central Arkansas Pride event to be canceled at Dickey Stephens Park.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — America's pastime felt like anything but relaxing for some members of the LGBTQ+ community in Central Arkansas on Thursday.

"It's not just a certain type of person who enjoys sporting events,' said Zack Baker, executive director of Central Arkansas Pride. "We either have to come to the table as we are, or not at all."

Central Arkansas Pride, a group focused on representing the LGBTQ+ members of the Central Arkansas community, wasn't expecting a curveball during 'Out Day' on Thursday night at Dickey Stephens Park.

"These events were designed to promote inclusion, diversity, and visibility within the community," Baker explained.

Part of the 'Out Day' plan was to have a member of the LGBTQ+ community throw out the ceremonial first pitch— a staple of every baseball game.

"When they learned that this person was a drag queen, they told us that this wouldn't be the right year for us to do that," Baker said. "And that we might look at it in future years, but not this year."

Baker said that the Travelers asked them to find someone else to throw out the first pitch, but they wouldn't budge.

In the end, Central Arkansas Pride backed out of 'Out Day' entirely.

"It's all about inclusion and making sure that everyone, you know, is seen and heard," Baker said. "So you either accept all of us or none of us."

The Travelers released a statement, saying in part that the Travs "have and always will be a place for all fans." 

The statement goes on to say that they hope to work with Central Arkansas Pride in the future.

The Travelers did not, however, address the claim that they would not allow a drag queen to throw out the first pitch.

We tried to follow up with team officials on that, but they did not have a response to our question.

While it wasn't the night at the ballpark that Baker had hoped to have, he said that this won't stop them from stepping up to the plate and being themselves.

"Our goal as an organization is to educate people about these types of things," he said. "If we're saying to one person, 'we're sorry, you can't be a part of this because you're dressing in drag,' that goes counter to our core values."

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