With controversy over LGBTQ issues and Major League Baseball at a fever pitch this summer, the Texas Rangers continue to avoid the heat.
Despite criticism from some advocacy groups, the club has stayed the course and remains the only team that will not host an annual Pride Night event in 2023. They have also indicated that they have no plans to do so in the immediate future.
That hasn’t sat too well with LGBTQ groups and even some political figures, who say the franchise is being insensitive to an important issue on the social landscape. But for the Ranger’s part, the team has said they are much more focused on winning and entertaining all their fans rather than choosing sides in a political debate that isn’t theirs. Some have applauded it as a neutral stance, while critics have dogged the team and its ownership. They say by being the only MLB holdout, they are essentially taking a stand by doing nothing at all.
The Rangers have repeated that their policy is not about discrimination, but rather inclusion. In a statement to the Associated Press, the club said they are committed to making everyone feel welcome and included, and “that means in our ballpark, at every game, and in all we do — for both our fans and our employees.”
And while the negative response from their hometown fan base has been somewhat marginal, it hasn’t stopped the Rangers from becoming part of the bigger, national story. Coverage of the more major happenings involves the Blue Jays releasing pitcher Anthony Bass for sharing an anti-LGBTQ post on his Instagram story and the Los Angeles Dodgers being besieged in a major controversy surrounding their Pride Night.
Amidst all this, Major League Baseball itself has seemingly pulled back from its original hard stance on honoring the LGBTQ community through symbolism. The game has ‘woke’ up with a bad hangover and now seems to have realized it might have taken a few too many shots of social correctness.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has told teams that they should refrain from forcing players to wear anything that might go against their principles. Some players around the league had voiced their displeasure with participating, citing their religious or personal beliefs.
“We have told teams, in terms of actual uniforms, hats, bases that we don’t think putting logos on them is a good idea just because of the desire to protect players,” Manfred said, according to the Washington Post, “not putting them in a position of doing something that may make them uncomfortable because of their personal views.”
However, MLB has okayed the Giants and Dodgers to wear Pride patches this season because of a preexisting agreement.
Meanwhile, back in Arlington, the Rangers are still receiving support from conservative groups in their community – along with those who are quite simply just tired of being overrun with political messaging in the game. To many, the price of admission shouldn’t come with a civic lesson.
Tonight, the @Dodgers are “honoring” this group of drag queens at the ballpark.
Their motto? “Go and Sin Some More!”
— Texas Family Project (@FamilyProjectTX) June 16, 2023
“People are tired of having pride-themed merchandise and branding shoved in their faces by every company, organization, and sports franchise,” a board member of the Texas Family Project wrote recently.
“People just want to watch baseball. To the vast majority of fans, Rangers’ decision to buck the trend of celebrating sexuality is a breath of fresh air.”
They are sticking to their guns down in The Lone Star State. And whether anyone likes or not, the Rangers not having a dog in this fight has allowed them to dodge a whole lot of bullets.