October 19, 2011
Apparently caving to pressure and common sense, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig decided to let Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks throw out a ceremonial first pitch during the World Series after all.
Reporter Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, among others, is reporting the Rangers are still figuring out in which game Nowitzki will participate.
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Nowitzki, the reigning NBA Finals MVP, reportedly is a die-hard Rangers fan who has watched "every playoff game" and even attended Game 6 of the ALCS. The clincher! Check out the look on Dirk's face in the photo from June when he threw out the first pitch before a Rangers-Mets game; he's obviously psyched.
Earlier on Wednesday, Marc Stein of ESPN Dallas reported that MLB owners had nixed the suggestion of Nowitzki because they wanted to show solidarity with NBA owners during the lockout. Seriously!
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.
Major League Baseball owners simply were standing united with their oppressed millionaire and billionaire brothers in the NBA. Later, MLB issued a denial that was as much unconvincing as it was condescending:
"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.
"It's a nice problem to have that you get a list of 10 or 15 names and you work your way through them. We know Nowitzki's been at the games, and that's wonderful. We're glad he's there."
But, they apparently don't want to stand that close to their owner brethren. Poor Pat Courtney; Selig made him go through the press box at Busch Stadium to recant. After all, it's impossible to say with a straight face that the MVP of the NBA Finals who frequents Rangers game doesn't have "a broad-base appeal." And yet, the Ohio resident who won a silly contest does, as Baseball Time in Arlington pointed out?
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The other person scheduled to throw a first pitch at Rangers Ballpark is Hall of Famer and North America native Ferguson Jenkins, and there's no denying his appeal.
Yahoo! Sports' NBA blog, Ball Don't Lie gave Dirk's point of view, via Twitter, before MLB changed its mind:
Thanks every1 on the support regarding first pitch. Its ok.Mlb is too old school. I will still be there to support our boys. Let's get game1
Team guy all the way. Good for him that he'll get a chance to involve himself.
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