This year has been something of a turning point for Major League Baseball. While it's been almost two decades since the Chicago Cubs hosted the league's first LGBTQ fan day at Wrigley Field in 2001, this year's celebrations and events show that acknowledging and celebrating the diversity of baseball's fan base has become the norm rather than an exception.
According to OutSports, two dozen teams are hosting LGBTQ pride nights or days in 2018. The MLB has gotten in on the act, too, marching in Sunday's Pride Parade in New York City.
The Rangers are behind the curve, joining the Yankees, Indians, Tigers, Astros and Angels on the list of teams that aren't celebrating pride month. That isn't a surprise.
As the Observer has pointed out before Globe Life Park is one of North Texas' safest spaces for conservatives. A night at the ballpark in Arlington is full of patriotism and country music. It isn't somewhere you'll be asked to confront your assumptions about your neighbors and your fellow fans.
Ahead of publishing this story, we asked the Rangers specifically why the team chose not to host an LGBTQ pride event this year. John Blake, the team's executive vice president of communications, sent us the following response:
"We make it a priority to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone who attends a Rangers home game."
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While Blake's statement makes the team sound neutral when it comes to celebrating specific groups of fans, that couldn't be further from the truth. Here's a list of groups that are getting special nights in Arlington this year:
- Abilene Christian University
- Texas State University
- University of Oklahoma
- University of Texas
- Oklahoma State University
- University of Texas at Dallas
- Dallas Baptist University
- University of Texas at Arlington
- U.S. Special Operations Command
- U.S. Navy
- U.S. Air Force
- U.S. Coast Guard
- Police Appreciation Night 1 and 2
- Fire Fighters and First Responders
- Korean Heritage Night
- African-American Heritage Night
- U.S. Marines
- U.S. Army
At most of the theme nights, Rangers hats featuring the motif of the group being honored are given away — think a Rangers cap with a thin blue line for police night or with burnt orange accents for University of Texas night. Judging from the sweet caps being given away by some of the clubs hosting LGBTQ pride events, the Rangers are really missing out by not doing a similar giveaway.
As Rangers fans lamented when their team failed to win the World Series in each of its 45 years of existence: There's always next year.