ARLINGTON, Texas — On the morning of the Texas Rangers home opener — a game that will likely host 40,000 fans — Texas governor Greg Abbott is taking a stand against Major League Baseball.
"Thank you for the invitation to throw out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers' home opening game," Abbot said in a letter to Rangers COO Neil Leibman. "I was looking forward to it—until Major League Baseball adopted what has turned out to be a false narrative about the election law reforms in Georgia, and, based on that false narrative, moved the MLB All-Star Game from Atlanta.
"It is shameful that America's pastime is not only being influenced by partisan political politics, but also perpetuating false political narratives. The State of Texas was proud to help MLB host last season's National League playoff games and the World Series in Arlington. However, I will not participate in an event held by MLB, and the State will not seek to hose the All-Star Game or any other MLB special events."
Abbot went on to say the decision "does not diminish the deep respect" he has for the Rangers organization.
Last Friday, MLB decided to move its All-Star Game out of response to new Georgia legislation, stating that they "fundamentally support voting rights for all Americans and oppose restrictions to the ballot box."
MLB's stance has garnered a vast number of mixed reactions. While there are plenty who support MLB's move, Abbott's response to not participate in Monday's first pitch and rule out Texas as a potential host for the All-Star Game is the arguably the strongest rebuke thus far.
Abbott was to be joined by frontline heroes, including healthcare workers, teachers and educators, and the U.S. military during the ceremonial first pitch. According to a Rangers spokesperson, Arlington ISD teacher Audrey Simmons will throw out the first pitch.
The Rangers have no comment regarding the Texas governor's decision.