Metro Weekly

Bianca Del Rio Takes the Mound for Night OUT at the Nationals

Drag superstar Bianca Del Rio will throw out the first pitch at Team DC’s annual Night OUT at the Nationals on Thursday, June 6.

Bianca Del Rio - Photo: Matt Crockett
Bianca Del Rio – Photo: Matt Crockett

“I think my father always wanted me to be a sports star,” says Bianca Del Rio. “But sports were never my thing as a child. It’s probably the reason why I’m a drag queen.”

Del Rio, the season six winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2014, will be the guest of honor for Night OUT at the Nationals on Thursday, June 6.

The annual event is co-hosted by the Washington Nationals and Team DC and celebrates the LGBTQ fans of the District of Columbia’s professional baseball team.

Del Rio will throw out the first pitch — an honor bestowed on various guests of honor over the years, from A-List celebrities to heads of state.

“In the past, as young gays, we were forced to play sports. And I had the cleanest uniform and was always out in left field, picking flowers and daydreaming,” the drag superstar says of her past experiences with baseball. “And every now and then I’d have to bat, which was a horrible experience for me. So I’m looking to fight my demons, and actually attempt to do a good job, and make my family proud while wearing a wig.”

While Del Rio won’t be doing any gymnastic flips prior to her pitch (like Olympic gymnast Simone Biles), she has other ideas about how to enliven the event.

“A costume change might be exciting,” she says. “My big concern is what to wear, because I’ve seen many people attempt to do this, where Hollywood actors or politicians will put on a jersey of some sort, but I think I need to go in the other direction. I think I need to go in a full-on evening gown and go out there and attempt to throw a ball.”

Miguel Ayala, president of Team DC, the umbrella organization for LGBTQ sports in the D.C. area, says there’s always interest in Night OUT, and that ticket sales have been good thus far.

“I think we’ll break another record this year in terms of sales,” he says. “We are going into this year’s event looking ahead, in preparation for World Pride 2025, at how we can make it bigger and better next year.”

Ayala says the idea of Del Rio throwing out the first pitch started as a pipedream, believing it would be impossible to pin down Del Rio, who just completed a three-month leg of her “Dead Inside” tour across the United States and Canada.

Organizers were uncertain they could get Del Rio, who will jet off to Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia for her tour’s international leg in the fall.

“I reached out to her people and extended the invitation. And they responded very positively, saying she would be honored and excited to do it,” Ayala says.

Del Rio is amazed at how incorporated drag has become in mainstream culture due, in part, to RuPaul’s Drag Race

“Many years ago, someone had said that drag would never be considered mainstream, but it’s quite wild to see now how popular it is across the world on a grander level,” she says. “Shows like Drag Race have kind of desensitized a lot of people, to the point where they look at drag queens as ‘This person is a performer.’”

Del Rio, who jokes that her wigs and generous use of hairspray may be considered a protective helmet of sorts (“It has saved my life on many drunken occasions”) says Night OUT at the Nationals is one of several Pride appearances she’ll make this summer.

“This is where the gays have missed the mark,” she says. “Pride in summer is horrible for drag queens. I’m currently trying to work on a patent to create a wig that also doubles as a window unit, where I can actually function in society and not melt.

“That is one thing we need to fix in this world,” she continues. “It’s not infrastructure. It’s not keeping Trump out of office. It’s to make sure we create a cooling wig for drag queens during Pride season.”

Del Rio won’t have a microphone to deliver some of her trademark, biting one-liners or “read” people in the audience for their appearances.

“I wouldn’t mind a boo or a heckle with throwing a ball,” she says. “I would be a little more disappointed if I were singing the National Anthem and that happened. This is the lesser of two evils, so I will gladly accept it. I do know I will not have a microphone and can’t talk back, but it will get used in my show much later, I guarantee it.

“That’s kind of my motto in life,” she continues. “You go into these opportunities you’re presented with and you say, ‘Yes, let’s do it. What’s the worst thing that can happen?’ And if the worst thing happens, then it becomes part of your show, which is the magic.”

Team DC’s Night OUT at the Nationals is Thursday, June 6, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Nationals Park, 1500 S. Capitol St. SE. Tickets are only $25 per person and can be purchased via a link on the Team DC website. Group rates can be obtained by emailing For more information, visit

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