The Texas Rangers are the only MLB team not hosting a Pride night to celebrate the LGBTQ community in June this year.
“Our commitment is to make everyone feel welcome and included in Rangers baseball. That means in our ballpark, at every game, and in all we do — for both our fans and our employees,” the team said in a statement emailed to HuffPost when asked for comment. “We deliver on that promise across our many programs to have a positive impact across our entire community.”
The Rangers said they create a “welcoming, inclusive and supportive environment for fans and employees” and pointed to different events the team is involved in, like sponsoring the 2022 NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series and participating in events with the Resource Center, a Dallas-based LGBTQ community and health center.
The 29 other MLB teams that are hosting Pride nights plan to celebrate the LGBTQ community with a number of ways, including giving away Pride fanny packs, hosting a fireworks show and adding rainbows to team uniforms.
A sampling of MLB Pride hats seen before a baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers in San Francisco on June 11, 2022.
The MLB has been dealing with fans threatening boycotts over teams’ Pride nights as anti-gay and anti-transgender alarmism and legislation spreads across state legislatures.
When the Los Angeles Dodgers first announced the organizations they invited to pride night on June 16, Catholic groups and politicians were upset over the inclusion of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a San Francisco-based performance group where drag performers dress as nuns.
The Dodgers rescinded their invitation, which then caused other organizations, like The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and LA Pride, to drop out in solidarity. The team eventually invited the organization back. Following the backlash, former vice president Mike Pence tweeted that the invitation to the group that he said “blatantly mocks Catholicism” was “offensive.”
Having been raised in a Catholic family, the Dodgers decision to invite the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a hateful group that blatantly mocks Catholicism, to their event next month is deeply offensive. Last summer the MLB moved their All-Star Game out of Georgia over a lie…
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) May 31, 2023
The lack of a Pride night on the Texas Rangers’ schedule is reflective of state leadership’s stance on LGBTQ issues. On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed legislature that bans gender-affirming care for transgender minors. Last year, Abbott ordered parents of trans kids be investigated, but that was later stopped by a Texas judge.
In 2018, the Dallas Observer said the Rangers were a “safe space” for conservatives after pointing out that the Rangers’ TV broadcaster C.J. Nitkowski had liked a photo from the Proud Boys’ Twitter account and gotten into a feud over a sexist tweet.
The Texas Rangers have many themed nights throughout the 2023 season, including a teachers appreciation night, a night to honor first responders and a Margaritaville-themed night, where fans will receive a Rangers-themed Hawaiian jersey.