The Angels had their Pride Night last week. The Dodgers are holding theirs Friday night.
Every Major League Baseball team dedicates a game to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, mostly during Pride Month in June, except for one: the Texas Rangers.
They’ve never had a Pride Night or a similar event tied to one of their home games.
When asked why not by The Times, a team representative responded with a statement via email:
“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. We deliver on that promise across our many programs to have a positive impact across our entire community.”
The Rangers gave the same statement to the Dallas Morning News in 2021 for its story on the same topic. MLB did not respond to questions from The Times about the Rangers’ lack of a Pride Night or something similar.
In their email to The Times, the Rangers included a list that highlights efforts by the organization to support the LGBTQ+ community. Those include sponsorship of the NAGAAA Gay Softball World Series in 2022; the development of an inclusion and community impact council; and working with such groups as Resource Center in Dallas and the Pegasus Slow-Pitch Softball Assn.
But the Rangers did not respond to questions from The Times regarding their relationship with He Gets Us, a Christian organization that had an ad on the back of the Globe Life Park pitchers mound during the Rangers’ 12-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on June 4.
“This is our second season partnering with the Texas Rangers,” He Gets Us told The Times in an email. “Our partnership with them includes signage in the ballpark, ads that run during the broadcast (on owned media networks and within the ballpark), and official sponsorships of events.
“The pitcher’s mound ad is part of the signage within the ballpark. This is a feature used in various MLB partnerships across the league.”
On its website, He Gets Us says it welcomes “diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences” and it wants to share “Jesus’ openness to people that others might have excluded.”
Asked by The Times if that includes members of the LBGTQ+ community, the organization responded:
“In a time of great division, Jesus welcomed all to his table. Our hope is to do the same so that everyone, including the LGBTQ+ community, knows they are welcome to learn more about Jesus. …
“He Gets Us intentionally does not take a hard line on issues that may exclude people from exploring the story of Jesus. Instead, we encourage you to learn more about Jesus and his confounding love.”
Asked if the group would approve if the Rangers decided to have a Pride Night or similar event celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, He Gets Us said it “works with” six other MLB teams, including the Angels, that “host various events” during the season.
“Those events do not affect our partnership agreements,” the group said.
The Dodgers are facing backlash from religious groups and others for their plan to present the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a charity organization made up of queer nuns in drag, with their Community Hero Award during Pride Night. Several Christian groups have organized a “prayerful procession” in protest before the Dodgers-San Francisco Giants game Friday at Dodger Stadium.
Even without hosting a Pride Night or similar event, the Rangers have found themselves in the crosshairs of anti-LBGTQ+ protesters in the past.
The Rangers invited local LGBTQ+ groups to a game on Sept. 14, 2003, as part of a fundraising event for those groups. The Advocate reported at the time that “Rangers representatives are careful to say that September 14 is far from a sanctioned ‘Gay Days’ event at the ballpark.”
That didn’t stop anti-LGBTQ+ protesters from starting a website in opposition to the event. According to the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers haven’t hosted a similar event since then.
That controversy occurred two years after the Chicago Cubs became the first team to host a Pride game. When the Houston Astros had their first such event in 2021 (a scheduled Pride Night for 2020 was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic), the Rangers were left as the only remaining holdout.
Billy Bean, a former major leaguer who came out as gay four years after his 1995 retirement as a player, was named MLB’s first ambassador for inclusion in 2014. As part of his ambassador role, Bean talks to players, coaches and front office personnel from every team to help with the league’s inclusion initiatives. In its 2021 article, the Dallas Morning News called Bean part of a “driving force” that has led to the increase in Pride Nights across the league.
In the same article, Bean was quoted as saying it’s “inevitable” that the Rangers will have a designated game celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. Given the current political climate, though, it’s unlcear if Bean still feels a Rangers Pride Night is an eventual certainty. He did not respond to The Times’ request for comment.