Many things have changed since the summer of 1996 — especially where Capitol Hill is concerned. Condos and expensive high-rise apartments have sprung up where rundown warehouses and car lots were, dive bars have been replaced by trendier establishments and people have come and gone. But, at least one thing has remained visible and active throughout the years (for the most part): The annual Bat ‘n’ Rouge softball game.
“The game itself pretty much has the same rules as regular softball, but there are some twists,” Corns said.
The biggest twist in 2014? The annual LGBTQ fundraiser is aligning its schedule with Capitol Hill Block Party festivities for the first time.
On the field, twists will include stunt cards, which can be played by the teams at random intervals during the game. Stunts include the “daisy chain” card, in which all the team members must lock arms and run the bases together when there is a hit. There is also the “bent bat” card, in which a batter must use a bat the is severely mangled.
“The stunt cards are just a way to make the game more fun to watch and to just have a good time,” Corns said.
The event is a yearly fundraiser hosted by the Seattle Area Support Group. The SASG is a non-profit group committed to providing emotional support and counseling services for people affected by HIV/AIDS and the queer community.
Event coordinator Marcus Corns said the fundraiser consists of a softball game that pits “Dykes vs Drag Queens.” The game takes place this Sunday, July 27, from 1 to 6 PM at Cal Anderson Park’s Bobby Morris field. Corns said anyone can sign-up to play: whether it be a drag queen, a dyke or just some dude /dudette off-the-street. The cover is $5 to attend the game.
It will be part of a double header of LGBTQ-friendly sports on Capitol Hill this weekend just a block from Block Party. Saturday, the costumed fundraiser-kickball game Jockstraps and Glitter returns to the park.
“(The Bat ‘n’ Rouge players) are all volunteers, so you get teams that consist of many well-known drag queens and performers in the community, as well as people that have never run in heels before,” Corns said.
Among the many performers that will be on hand are the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the infamous nun-themed drag queens, which will provide entertainment in between innings during the game. There will also be concession stands, emcees and Mayor Ed Murray will give an opening speech and throw the ceremonial first pitch to kick-off the showdown.
Along with the softball players, entertainers and game-watchers, there will be a number of local organizations providing free resources. Among them will be Crystal Meth Anonymous, the Crisis Clinic and the University of Washington Rapid Testing group, which provides free HIV/AIDS testing.
In a typical year, the Bat ‘n’ Rouge softball game will bring in anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000, which helps fund SASG’s annual expenses, Corns said. Last year, which was SASG’s first time hosting the event after the previous sponsor of the game was unable to host it, the fundraiser lost money. The Bat ‘n’ Rouge event costs around $6,000 to fund.
“It was just a weird year the time around,” Corns said, which is one of the reasons the event date has been changed.
For years, the annual game has been held in August. Part of the reason for the date change is to gain more exposure, which is why the game will be taking place during the Capitol Hill Block Party. In a neighborhood known for its continuing change, Bat ‘n’ Rouge is making changes to continue to be part of the fun.
You can learn more at facebook.com/SeattleBatNRouge.