The wedding of Erik Braverman and Jonathan Cottrell at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, where Mr. Braverman serves as senior vice president for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was a celebration of love. Also of progress.
“We knew it would mean a lot to a lot of people,” said Mr. Cottrell, including the 75 vaccinated dudes who watched as the couple said “I do” on the pitching mound, as well as countless others who members of the LGBTQ community struggle to find acceptance in professional baseball and other sports.
Mr. Braverman, 51, and Mr. Cottrell, 31, met in November 2019 at Mantamar Beach Club, an oceanfront bar and restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Both were on vacation: Mr. Braverman from his job with the Dodgers and Mr. Cottrell from him as a software engineer at Google in Mountain View, California. said Mr. Braverman. “We drew together.”
After Mr. Braverman returned home to Los Angeles and Mr. Cottrell to San Francisco, the attraction didn’t end. Towards the end of the year, Mr. Cottrell flew to Mr. Braverman every weekend. Both had acknowledged that they were in love. That Mr. Cottrell didn’t care much for sports wasn’t a problem, Mr. Cottrell said.
“When I asked what he did and he told me he worked for the Dodgers, I said, ‘I’m pretty sure that’s baseball, right?'” Mr. Cottrell said. Mr. Braverman, who had been on dates where his affiliation with the organization felt like the main attraction, was charmed. “I loved it,” he said.
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In February 2020, Mr. Cottrell, who is also a model, left his job at Google and purchased an apartment in Mr. Braverman’s building in West Hollywood, California. Mr. Braverman was initially hesitant about that decision, Mr. Cottrell said.
“He said, I don’t want you to change your life just for me,” Mr. Cottrell said. “But I felt like I was on my way to eternity.”
The pandemic, which hit Los Angeles a month later, accelerated their romance. Mr. Cottrell had then gone home to work as a software engineer at Zynq, a San Francisco office management company founded by his brother, David Cottrell. mr. Braverman was one floor down, working for the Dodgers. They met daily for lunch and dinner. “It allowed us to really grow our relationship,” Braverman said.
In the spring of 2020, Mr. Cottrell started thinking about marriage. In May, in the early months of the pandemic and on their six-month anniversary, he put two rings in a picnic basket and showed them to Mr. Braverman at a “social distancing” picnic at Dodger Stadium (they had the place for himself). “He said, ‘I’m not making a proposal, I just feel like we’re on the right track, and when the time is right, we’ll know,'” Braverman said.
Mr. Cottrell knew that Mr. Braverman had reason to be sensitive to timing. He had been with the Dodgers for seven years in 2015 when his boss, Lon Rosen, the team’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, encouraged him to come over to his colleagues.
Major League Baseball “wasn’t known for being inclusive when I took my job,” Braverman said. “It was a concern for me.” But the Dodgers franchise, he found, had come a long way in its relationship with the LGBTQ community since two women were kicked out of the stadium in 2000 for kissing in the stands. “Everyone from the property hugged and supported me,” he said. .
After Mr. Braverman officially proposed on August 13, 2021, Mr. Rosen told him that the Dodgers would be honored to host the wedding. On January 21, David Cottrell, ordained pastor of Universal Life Church, married the couple in a ceremony filled with what Mr. Cottrell called “bad baseball puns.”
“For example,” said Mr. Cottrell, “I said we had curveballs thrown at us.”
About the wedding, Mr. Braverman said, “to be able to get to the location where I thought I would have to hide my identity, and to really celebrate getting married here to the man I love” was surreal. “I never thought this day would happen,” he said.