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Cardinals' Kiss Cam shows no gay couples
Kiss Cam

Cardinals' Kiss Cam shows no gay couples

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Cardinals fall to Padres 8-4
September 18, 2010 - The Kiss Cam at the Cardinals game Saturday delivered no same sex couples for gay and lesbian fans in attendance as the Cardinals played the Padres at Busch Stadium Saturday. The Cardinals lost 8-4. Robert Cohen

ST. LOUIS • No, the big screen at Busch Stadium on Saturday did not show the image of two men kissing.

After a week of "Will they or won't they?" and "Should they or shouldn't they?" regarding gays and lesbians and public displays of affection on a Jumbotron, the Kiss Cam at Busch Saturday went about its usual business.

Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" blared. There were old couples, young couples, oblivious couples. But, on this day at least, no same-sex couples.

And, really, that seemed OK with the folks from Pride St. Louis, the local gay rights and advocacy organization that had about 200 members at the game, at least some of whom were hoping for a same-sex moment on the Kiss Cam.

It was meaningful enough that the Cardinals even approached the group about a bulk-ticket purchase a few months back, said Ethan Barnett, a Pride board member who organized the event, called "OUT at the Ballpark." Just a handful of other Major League Baseball teams have held similar events, and it was a first in St. Louis.

"We're really excited about it," Barnett said. "It's the first time the Cardinals have gone so far as to look us up as a community and approach us. Everyone's been welcoming."

The Kiss Cam idea came up last week, after a similar feature at a Rams game lingered on a pair of male Arizona Cardinals fans, seeming to suggest they might want to smooch. The crowd laughed, then booed as the men tried to shoo the cameras away.

On Monday, conversation at an area gay bar turned to the episode, which some people had found degrading. Why should the Rams try to embarrass opposing fans by suggesting they're gay?

Several people at the bar, including its general manager, Harrison Roberts, were planning to attend Saturday's Cardinals game with Pride. So they started asking about getting on the Kiss Cam, and the newspapers and talk radio heard about it.

That it didn't pan out wasn't too big a surprise.

The Cardinals had made no promises, and all week pointed out that the Kiss Cam roams the crowd, trying to squeeze as many couples as it can into about 90 seconds. There's not much time for analyzing whether two men sitting next to each other happen to be gay.

And indeed, when the moment came, in the middle of the second inning, the Kiss Cam scene was all heterosexual couples, aside from one young man and his mother. Then Sonny and Cher quieted down and it was on with the game.

It was a little disappointing, Roberts said later, but all the fuss at least got people talking about the issue and the idea that gay people are Cardinals fans, too.

"It's all a step in the right direction," he said.

As for a spot on the Kiss Cam, well, not to paraphrase Cubs fans, but, maybe next year.

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