Oh, Major League Baseball. Why are you so ... that way? The Texas Rangers had a great idea for their first pitch, inviting Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki to do the honor. Nowitzki was an inspired choice -- an iconic Dallas athlete who brought a championship to his long-suffering franchise after decades of abject failure, and years of recent just-misses. Sounds like a pretty sweet parallel, no?
Major League Baseball, though, is thinking big picture. Like, what if there's a person watching the game at home who thinks that by letting an NBA player perform a ten-second ceremony at a baseball game, MLB doesn't support the NBA in their labor conflict? What would happen then? From ESPN Dallas:
Sources told ESPNDallas.com that -- with the NBA in the midst of a lockout that has spanned 111 days -- at least some hesitation stems from the idea that MLB executives want to stand behind their basketball counterparts and have notified the Rangers that they can't bestow first-pitch honors on an NBA player.
MLB denies this, of course.
"MLB absolutely denies that any part in selecting the first ball pitcher had anything to do with the current labor situation in the NBA," MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said. "You want the club's input in what makes sense for them and then we talk about what makes sense for the team and a good broad-base national appeal.
To which Baseball Time in Arlington responds:
The Game 2 first pitch is being thrown out by a CONTEST WINNER. Take your "broad-base national appeal" and shove it up your ass, MLB.
It's true. An Ohio man won an online vote to throw out the first pitch in Game 2. No one cared, though, because no one really cares who throws out first pitches, except for maybe the fans in attendence when it's someone really special. Like, oh, a local sports hero.
But, really, MLB is just concerned with broad-base national appeal. They don't want regional curiosities like one of the most famous athletes in American sports. And they certainly don't want someone who is even slightly controversial. Nope, we need broad-base national appeal.
So by proactively squashing a gesture that no one would have read anything into, Major League Baseball has turned a complete non-story into something that reflects poorly on Major League Baseball. That's a talent you just can't teach.