The Texas Rangers planned to have Dallas Mavericks star forward Dirk Nowitzki throw out a first pitch before a home game in the 2011 World Series, but Major League Baseball and commissioner Bud Selig rejected their request.
The Rangers, who take on the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series starting Wednesday night, confirmed their Nowitzki request to MLB to ESPNDallas.com on Wednesday. But the club would not specify why the league turned down that request.
But according to ESPN Dallas, it's a nice little bit of controversy. With the NBA lockout dragging on in its 111th day thus far, sources told the site that there was hesitation on the part of MLB executives, who want to stand behind their basketball counterparts.
Because you tell me what makes more of a statement of rich people supporting one another than not allowing a basketball player to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game.
Nowitzki threw out the first pitch before the Rangers took on the Mets on June 24, so it's a good thing the lockout hadn't started then. Then again, regular-season first-pitchers do not have to be approved by MLB. That changes in the World Series.
However, MLB denied this when asked Wednesday by ESPN Dallas.
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.
And now, the wait begins for an explanation as to how a household Texas name, the MVP of the NBA Finals, the guy who is always at the games... how that doesn't indicate a good broad-base national appeal.
Nowitzki took to his Twitter account to allude to the incident, saying he would still attend the Rangers' home games in the World Series. The first two games are in St. Louis before the teams head back to Texas for Game 3.
Thanks every1 on the support regarding first pitch, he wrote. Its ok.Mlb is too old school. I will still be there to support our boys. Let's get game1.
This, of course, came right after a tweet advising another user of how to effectively play with him in the video game NBA 2K11. Just press the circle button, he said.