A's make history with anthem on Pride Night

A's make history with anthem on Pride Night

OAKLAND -- An email from Billy Beane to Billy Bean helped lead to a historic Pride Night at the Coliseum on Wednesday, in which opera singer Breanna Sinclaire became the first transgender woman to sing the national anthem at a professional sporting event.

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When Bean -- Major League Baseball's Ambassador for Inclusion and one of two players in MLB history to come out as gay -- got his current job, Beane, the A's general manager, emailed him and said he wanted him to speak to the team in Spring Training.

Bean did so, and he met the team again at the Coliseum on Wednesday. He spoke with A's front office employees and players, telling them just how historic the night was.

"I explained to them how today is a perfect win for this organization and for baseball," Bean said. "Nobody's expecting them to be experts or understand fully the magnitude of having a transgender person sing the national anthem."

The other MLB player to come out as gay is former A's outfielder Glenn Burke. Burke's brother, Sidney Burke, threw out the first pitch Wednesday. Fans received rainbow flags and showed their support.

Bean, who sported a rainbow A's button of his own, retired from baseball early because he felt like he didn't belong. He buried his secret and was afraid to tell his family.

"It's ironic that my mom said it was harder for them to accept that I wasn't a baseball player than it was for them to find out I was gay," Bean said. "They loved that so much, and it was like a knife in my heart."

Bean doesn't try to convince players to change the way they think about the LGBT community. His goal is to make sure they appreciate the privilege they have to be baseball players, and he tries to help them raise their children as leaders, not bullies.

He said he isn't waiting for one player to come out and "have the weight of the world thrown on his shoulders." Bean never pressures anyone. He simply does everything he can to make progress and benefit the LGBT community.

Eireann Dolan, the girlfriend of A's pitcher Sean Doolittle, is doing the same. When the A's announced Pride Night, there was a negative reaction from some fans. Dolan bought their tickets and donated them, raising over $35,000 and purchasing 875 tickets for kids to Wednesday's game.

"It was a wave of support that we could not have anticipated, and we couldn't be happier," Dolan said.

Worth noting

• A's switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, who is on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, said there is no definitive date for his return to the club. He is not experiencing pain anymore, but he has not started playing catch.

Venditte said he was in serious pain Thursday after suffering the injury in the fifth inning of the A's 5-4 win over the Rangers last Wednesday. In 2012, when he tore the labrum in his right shoulder, he tried to just pitch with his left, but that didn't help and he needed surgery.

Venditte's scoreless relief

"I understand why everyone wonders why a switch-pitcher isn't pitching left-handed," Venditte said, "but there's so much more that goes into it."

• A's manager Bob Melvin congratulated the Golden State Warriors on winning the NBA championship Tuesday night. Melvin has been a Warriors fan for years, and he watched the second half of Game 6 at home after getting off the plane back from San Diego.

"Pretty remarkable," Melvin said. "It has to go down as one of the great NBA seasons of all-time."

• First baseman Ike Davis (quad) played for Triple-A Nashville on Wednesday.

• Right-hander Edward Mujica (thumb) will start for Class A Stockton on Thursday and may rejoin the club soon.

• Right-hander Taylor Thompson (shoulder) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Tuesday in Arizona.

Trevor Hass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.