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The Kiss Cam just can’t win

Aug 30, 2011, 4:30 PM EDT

Kiss Cam

Via BTF comes a column in The Faster Times about the Kiss Cam at AT&T Park. Specifically, about how it’s a totally heterosexual affair, and how that’s not cool:

If the Jumbotron at AT&T Park is to be believed, there are no gay people in San Francisco.  Either that, or the city’s sizeable gay community includes no baseball fans.  The evidence of this is that during the sixth inning of every game, the filler between innings is something called the Kiss Cam.  The Kiss Cam consists of couples from the stands being shown on the giant screen in centerfield.  After a few seconds, the couple generally notices they are on the screen and kiss each other.  The crowd then cheers and the next couple is shown.  The couples on the Kiss Cam invariable consist of a man and a woman.  Same sex couples are seemingly never shown.

Which sounds like a fine complaint until you remember that the biggest problem with the dumb kiss cam is that it’s so often employed as a means of spreading casual homophobia. The operator thinks it’s cute to put it on two guys — presumably heterosexual guys — in order to get hoots and hollers from the crowd and to sow homphobic discomfort.

Call me crazy, but I don’t have a lot of faith in the operator of a kiss cam to distinguish same-sex couples from just a couple of buddies going to the game. At least unless they screen camera operators for gaydar when they’re hired. As a result, the effort to make the kiss cam an equal opportunity affair is just going to present another opportunity for people to be stupid about sexual orientation and stereotypes and stuff.

In light of that — and in light of the fact that the kiss cam is kind of a dumb idea regardless of how well the operating is executed — how about just scuttling it?

  1. sdelmonte - Aug 30, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    And what if the kiss cam lands on two people of opposite genders who really, really don’t want to kiss? Or to kiss in public? Lord knows, a kiss cam would have embarrassed the heck out of me in my newlywed days. There is nothing cool about such things, even before adding the homophobia.

    • clydeserra - Aug 30, 2011 at 7:20 PM

      or how about landing on people that aren’t a couple.

  2. hdanger10 - Aug 30, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    The kiss cam is a classic way to get laughs in between innings/quarters. The only safe way to show two guys is if they are on the opposing team – never fails.

  3. fearlessleader - Aug 30, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Oh, HELL YES to everything you’ve said here, Craig. I wrote about this last year when it briefly became an (idiotic) issue in St. Louis:

    Thanks, again, for consistently making this the most open-minded baseball blog on the web.

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 30, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    “The obvious logistical challenge associated with featuring same sex couples on the Kiss Cam is that there are a lot of men who attend games together who are not couples; and the camera operators at the ballpark should not be in the business of trying to determine who is gay and who is not. This, however, is more of an excuse than a legitimate reason to discriminate against same sex couples.”

    No, it is not an excuse. It’s a fact. And it is NOT discrimination to NOT put two men or two women on a Kiss Cam. If you put a man and a woman on the Kiss Cam and they aren’t together, then you have found the minority of that case. Whereas, if you put two men or two women on the Kiss Cam and they aren’t together, you have found the majority of that case.

    Why should they get rid of something that works 95% of the time because some people who are clearly in the minority are upset that they weren’t chosen?

    The only thing I agree with in Craig’s statement is that they should NEVER pick two men or two women. They should be consistent and pick the most likely people to Kiss on the Kiss Cam, and that is a man and a woman. There’s is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING homophobic about always picking a man and a woman for a Kiss Cam. However, to pick two men just to make them uncomfortable and get laughs is 100% homophobic.

    • fearlessleader - Aug 30, 2011 at 5:03 PM

      So, to be clear, you’re okay with featuring same-sex couples as long as they really are same-sex couples?

      I have *fantastic* gaydar. (Seriously. I knew Portia de Rossi played for my team the first time I saw her on “Ally McBeal.” Not many people can say THAT.) If I can achieve that 95% success rate with couples of various orientations, are you okay with me being in charge of the Kiss Cam? :)

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 30, 2011 at 5:09 PM

        Absolutely…like the commenter below said, if it was LGBT night and they showed several same-sex couples, then I would have no problem with it. My problem is when given the choice of having ONLY a man and a woman shown every time, or getting rid of the Kiss Cam altogether as Craig suggests, I choose the former.

        I hate when they show the two guys and everyone hoots and howls. That’s homophobic. But to just show all man/woman couples is perfectly fine because most of the time, they are there as a couple. Whereas, you can’t say the same thing about 2 guys or 2 girls.

    • clydeserra - Aug 30, 2011 at 7:23 PM

      Its San Francisco. THere are gay people at the game.

      But I do disagree with Craig. I think the camera should find same sex people and if they don’t kiss, move on. Not really a big deal

  5. hackerjay - Aug 30, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    I was at the Giants game last night and they showed several same sex couples on the kiss cam. It was also LGBT night at the park though, so it was probably a bit easier to pick out the actual couples and not just the buddies going to a game (the rainbow colored SF hats would be one indicator).

    Interestingly enough though, they did manage to put an older man and woman up on the cam that were not a couple. I’m not sure, but I think the guy said that she was his sister.

  6. cur68 - Aug 30, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    I got caught on a kiss cam with my brother in law at a hockey game. We noticed at the same time. Then clinked beer cups, chugged them and squashed the cups, all on camera. T’was his idea, which came out something like this: “Bro, we on the stupid kiss-cam. Chug the beer, squash the cup, kay? Cheers.” Best idea that guy ever had and the only damn near standing ovation I’ve ever had. IMO it was the only way for us 2 dudes to deal with the stupid thing if they didn’t want his sister to kill us both. This is why I’ve kept custody of him after the divorce. And, once again, Beer to the Rescue.

    • drunkenhooliganism - Aug 30, 2011 at 5:25 PM

      That’s such a great story. I wanna kiss you.

      • cur68 - Aug 30, 2011 at 5:34 PM

        Kiss my brother in law. He’s cuter than me.

  7. Panda Claus - Aug 30, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    Best Kiss Cam I saw came this year at an Red Sox – Orioles game in Baltimore.

    A girl wearing a plain shirt and jeans was sitting in the back row next to a guy in a Red Sox cap who was slumped over and fast asleep. She saw herself on the screen and tried to wake her “man” to no avail. An alert and willing fan wearing O’s gear leaned over the sleeping guy and kissed the girl.

    That guy was an instant folk hero.

    • yankeesgameday - Aug 30, 2011 at 5:36 PM

      That is the opening scene to Good Will Hunting Part 2.

      “hey, do you like apples…?”

  8. APBA Guy - Aug 30, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    I need to get out more. You don’t see any of this stuff fast forwarding on the DVR :)

  9. Lukehart80 - Aug 30, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Every time I’ve seen a same-sex “couple” on a kiss cam it’s either two attractive girls and the crowd cheers or it’s two guys and the crowd laughs. Maybe the crowds respond differently in the other cities, but I doubt it.

    I enjoy the kiss cam and I happen to think it’s funny when the people won’t kiss: co-workers, people sitting next to one another but part of separate groups, etc. Mostly that’s just a childish enjoyment of others’ embarrassment and I would be fine never seeing another kiss cam in my life.

    That said…

    At a Bulls game this spring the team was honoring the 1991 championship team, almost all of the players were in attendance. Michael and Scottie (Jordan and Pippen, but I hope you knew that already) were sitting next to each other, courtside. I hope it doesn’t make me homophobic to tell you I would’ve cheered had the kiss cam operator put the two of them on the screen, and cheered even more had the two of them kissed.

    • yankeesgameday - Aug 30, 2011 at 5:54 PM

      That’s the opposite of homophobic. Although it does make one wonder what you were thinking about during all the bulls championship runs in the short shorts era…

      • Lukehart80 - Aug 30, 2011 at 10:16 PM

        I was a Horace Grant man.

  10. saintez - Aug 30, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    Lighten up! Let’s talk about big issues, like, omg, why isn’t Justin bieber played more often!

  11. humanexcrement - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    I officially put this in the “I don’t give a shit” category.

  12. cleverbob - Aug 31, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    I agree, there should be more hot women making out on the jumbotron. I was at a Phillies game a few years ago that had a LGBT promotion, and the Kiss Cam was conspicuously absent.

  13. grizz2202 - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    Seriously? Are we really offended that we’re not on the Kiss Cam? “There’s a war in Afghanistan, the WORLD economy is broken, the Earth is both heating up and cooling off at an alarming rate simultaneously, but I can’t be seen kissing my same sex partner on the Kiss Cam!!!”

    Sounds pretty dumb to me. I could see the complaint if anyone in a same sex relationship who was not shown on the Kiss Cam was dragged out of the stadium and beaten to death, but that’s not the case here, is it?

    If you want to kiss your significant other, do it. But don’t expect it to be plastered on the Jumbotron every time you do it, regardless of sexual preference.

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