Gov. Greg Abbott decries MLB’s dabbling in politics, spurns Texas Rangers’ invite to throw out first pitch
This is a developing story.
AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Rangers on Monday declining the baseball club’s invitation to take first place at the Arlington home game and Major League Baseball’s acceptance of “false political narratives” about the controversial New elections in Georgia attacked the law.
Abbott also said he will no longer be attending any Major League Baseball event and that the state will not attempt to host the All-Star Game or other MLB special events.
He responded to Major League Baseball’s decision to move the league’s all-star game out of Atlanta in response to Georgia’s new electoral laws, which Republicans say are needed to prevent election fraud, but Democrats and voting rights activists say they do suppress the participation of minorities in elections.
“Major League Baseball took a false narrative about Georgia suffrage reforms and moved the MLB All-Star game out of Atlanta based on that false narrative,” wrote Abbott, Rangers president and chief operating officer Neil Liebman.
“It is shameful that America’s pastime is not only influenced by party politics but also perpetuates false political narratives,” wrote the governor.
Among other things, Georgian law essentially bans mobile polling stations, shortens the time frame for applying for a postal vote, requires strict identification requirements for postal ballots, and makes it illegal for election officials to send postal ballots to all voters.
A provision makes it a crime for anyone other than an election worker, a person standing in line to vote, to provide food or water. Big corporations and civil rights activists vigorously protested the new Georgian law.
Abbott, who began his political career in Houston and is an Astros fan, expressed admiration for the Rangers. His daughter Audrey, a graduate of the University of Southern California, works as an event coordinator for the Rangers.
Greg Abbott said his boycott of the Rangers home opener “does not diminish the deep respect I have for the Texas Rangers baseball organization, which is outstanding from top to bottom.”
The Rangers open their 50th home season against the Toronto Blue Jays at 3:05 p.m. on Monday.
Last year all 30 Rangers home games were played in the park without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While fans have been admitted to the National League Championship Series and the World Series, the game on Monday will be the first where fans can participate in a Rangers game at Globe Life Field.
The Rangers opened their ballpark for the home opener on Monday to its full capacity of 40,300.