The general manager of a college wood-bat summer league team in Michigan is defending a recent gun safety and Second Amendment education night but has not decided whether to hold the promotion again next year.
The Battle Creek (Mich.) Bombers of the Northwoods League held the promotion last Friday night at C.O. Brown Stadium, but not without controversy. One minister started an online petition to tell the Bombers owners that “mixing handguns, baseball and beer is wrong,” according to a report by Kalamazoo, Mich., TV station WWMT.
In a statement published Tuesday by WWMT, Bombers general manager Tony Iovieno said the promotion was being inaccurately portrayed as a political event rather than as a business promotion event. The promotion was held in conjunction with a local gun store.
“The event was never about taking sides in an ideological debate, nor do the Battle Creek Bombers wish to do so now,” Iovieno said in the statement. “Extra precautions were taken to ensure that fans could enjoy a good time out at the ballpark. The event was presented in cooperation with the Battle Creek Police Department and in accordance with applicable regulations and ordinances.”
Fans who were uncomfortable with the promotion could exchange their tickets for another game, TV station FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, Mich., reported.
“This was meant to promote firearm safety,” Iovieno told TMZ before last Friday’s game. “Western Michigan is different from big cities. Carrying a gun is much more the norm here. It’s a different culture. Michigan is an open carry state.”
Iovieno told WWMT he is undecided on whether the team would hold the event next year.
Last Wednesday, two days before Second Amendment Night (which also was Boy Scouts Night and Fireworks Night at Brown Stadium), the Bombers hosted Pride Night for the LGBTQ community.
“There are always going to be folks who don’t agree with what we do,” Iovieno told TMZ. “We just had LGBT Pride Night the other night, and some people didn’t like that either. You can’t please everyone.”