Baseball is home to some of the longest droughts in sports. The Minnesota Twins haven’t won a playoff game since 2004. The Cleveland Guardians have gone through more name changes than World Series trophy ceremonies since 1948.
Topping it all off is the most notorious dry spell in all of MLB — the wait for the Texas Rangers to host a Pride Night. The Rangers this season are once again the only MLB team to not have such a night.
In light of this obstinacy, several current and former Rangers employees, some of whom are LGBTQ, spoke out about how it feels to work for the team and the picture they painted was pretty harrowing.
Sprinkled throughout a feature by The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli (link behind a paywall), Rangers workers testified about how the team’s obstinate stand against Pride has led to disillusionment within the organization.
“I grew up here, a die-hard Rangers fan,” said one employee who requested anonymity, “When I started working here, it was a dream job. But it’s pretty shitty that it’s an organization over the last few years that has done or said things, or not done or said things, that not only do I not agree with or not reflect who I want to be as a person, but it’s bordering on being disgusting.”
It’s one thing to go from a “dream job” working for your favorite baseball team to having it feel like a regular 9-to-5 office gig. But it’s quite another to have your feelings about this “dream job” degrade all the way to “bordering on being disgusting.”
If this person is any indication, the Rangers’ blanket dismissal of Pride — and by extension, their LGBTQ fans — runs so profoundly against some of their employees’ values that those same employees are questioning their decision to work for the team in the first place.
It also says something about the culture the team has created that every current employee who spoke to Ghiroli asked for anonymity in order to speak honestly about the Rangers without fear of reprisal.
As has been noted before, there are numerous people working for the Rangers front office who want to see the team host a Pride event, but there’s also a widespread belief that someone high up the ownership ranks is blocking it.
Another gay current employee explained, “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 shit.”
It seems that sending a message like “it’s OK to treat this group of people like shit” to both your employees and your customers is bad policy. And even worse humanity.
To underscore that, the Rangers’ problematic approach to the LGBTQ community goes beyond just a refusal to host Pride Night. In her report, Ghiroli noted that a “former employee who worked on the fan experience side of things” confessed that some of her LGBTQ co-workers were fearful of speaking honestly about their sexuality in the office.
Rangers beat writer Alex Plinck, who came out as gay in 2020, has frequently noted that his interactions with Rangers players and front office staffers have been positive.
But while addressing the topic of the team’s owners and their relationship to our community, he said, “If someone asked me if ownership is homophobic, I would say they haven’t blatantly said anything but their actions say otherwise. There’s no other reason they wouldn’t [have a Pride Night]. It’s murky, right? I can’t say they are [homophobic] but what other reason would you have not to?”
Given that there are several people employed by the Rangers who are in favor of hosting a Pride Night, it’s understandable to hope that this would build the kind of momentum that would eventually lead to the team scheduling one.
However, the experiences of these Rangers workers and former employees indicates that such a day might be farther off than we’d like to believe. There’s something about the culture of the team’s front office that needs to change first.
Unfortunately, it’s also likely that kind of change is not going to happen until that unnamed high ranking executive who’s dead set against LGBTQ Pride leaves the team for good.
In the meantime, no matter how good the team on the field plays, when it comes to acknowledging the humanity of our community, the Rangers drought will continue.