The Texas Rangers faced criticism for not holding a Pride Night, as they are the only team in Major League Baseball without one. The team’s last Pride Night in 2003 was met with backlash, leading to protests. Former and current employees expressed disappointment, with one former employee noting that the lack of a Pride Night was a missed marketing opportunity and a sign of exclusion. Some employees believed it stemmed from the team’s owner, Ray Davis. The Rangers defended their commitment to inclusivity and highlighted their support for the LGBTQ+ community through various sponsorships and partnerships. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers faced scrutiny for their handling of Pride Night festivities and protesters gathered outside the stadium as the team honored the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Ryan Gaydos; June 20, 2023
The Texas Rangers are the only team in Major League Baseball without a Pride Night and on Monday faced some scrutiny for the lack of festivities.
The last Pride Night the organization held was in 2003 and was met with immense backlash. Several LGBTQ+ groups were invited to the stadium and honored, and protests came quickly.
As the Los Angeles Dodgers came under scrutiny for how the organization handled its Pride Night festivities, current and former employees of the Rangers organization spoke about the team.
“(The silence) is deafening,” one former longtime employee told The Athletic. “The fact of the matter is it’s a free marketing opportunity, it doesn’t cost them anything personally and they can boost revenue by looking inclusive. The fact that there hasn’t been one (for Texas), is the biggest ‘actions speak louder than words’ I’ve ever seen.”
The former employee added that it was a “bare minimum thing.”
“The fact that there’s so much resistance is a huge point of contention, not just for the gay folks, but for everyone,” the former employee said. “It was always something that bothered me greatly about the organization. They do a lot of things well, where they have all these other nights for different fans and cultures. The fact that they omit one group very clearly is just ridiculous.”
One current Rangers employee who is gay told The Athletic they believed it starts at the top of the organization with team owner Ray Davis.
“When you have someone so opposed at the top, it creates this spillover effect that, even though most of the organization I think wants it to happen, or at least isn’t vehemently opposed to it, it’s just this dark cloud that’s signifying it’s OK to treat this group of people like s—,” the person said.
“Our commitment is to make everyone feel welcome and included in Rangers baseball,” the team said in a statement to the Los Angeles Dodgers. “That means in our ballpark, at every game, and in all we do – for both our fans and our employees. We deliver on that promise across our many programs to have a positive impact across our entire community.”
The Rangers made sure to add that they do help support the LGBTQ+ community in various ways, including sponsorship of the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series last year as well as the “development of an inclusion and community impact council.”
They also worked with the Resource Center in Dallas as well as the Pegasus Slow-Pitch Softball Association.
On Friday, protesters loaded the streets outside Dodger Stadium while the team honored the group that cosplays as nuns about an hour before first pitch. The stadium was basically empty for the Friday night contest at that point.
“The Dodgers community hero award goes to an organization reaching the LGBTQ+ community, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, LA chapter,” stadium announcer Todd Leitz said. “Please join us in recognizing the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for their outstanding service to the LGBTQ+ community.”
Dodgers pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Blake Treinen were among those in the clubhouse who disapproved of the reinvitation to the group, while many others around the league, including Washington Nationals starter Trevor Williams, also did not like the honoring.
Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons