June is Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community. As a result, many Major League Baseball teams across the country are planning to host Pride Night celebrations at their ballparks – or similar promotions that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. But one team has made it clear that they will not hold such a celebration: the Texas Rangers.
While every other team across Major League Baseball has held a Pride Night or similar promotional event, the Dallas Morning News reports that Texas Rangers have not hosted a promotion to welcome and celebrate the LGBTQ+ in over two decades. Back in 2003, the team did invite several LGBTQ+ groups to the ballpark, according to The Advocate, but it was not officially marketed as any specific promotion and was met with anti-gay protests. The team has not hosted a similar event since.
Despite a push from LGBTQ+ leaders in the Dallas community, the Rangers have thus far refused to host a promotional game for the LGBTQ+ community and do not have one planned for this season. And it does not sound like they plan to host a Pride Night or a similar event in the future, either.
“With respect to Pride Night, we reached out to the Resource Center and said what can we do internally,” Rangers COO Neil Leibman told The Dallas Morning News back in August of 2020. “We immediately adopted some changes they suggested to be more inclusive in hiring practices. I think that’s more meaningful than just saying ‘OK, we had a Pride Night.’”
But as Rafael McDonnell, a liaison between pro sports teams and the LGBTQ community’s Dallas-based Resource Center, explained back in 2021, it’s possible for a team to do those things internally and host a Pride Night, too – as every other team in the MLB has done in recent years.
“If you say, ‘We’re doing one and not the other,’ is where you run into a problem,” McDonnell told The Dallas Morning News. “… I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive. I think you can do both.”
The Rangers are the only team in Major League Baseball not to host a Pride Night or similar promotion in the past two decades. And based on their messaging over the past few years, it doesn’t sound like that’s going to change.