Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the media on several matters on Thursday as part of a press availability session he held at the league's headquarters following the owners meetings in New York. Manfred spent a large chunk of time discussing the Athletics and their attempted relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas, but he was also asked about the possibility of the league standardizing LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations across the league.
Manfred said that he leaves the decision to hold Pride-designated games to the teams themselves, on account that they know their markets better. It's worth noting that 29 of the 30 teams are seeing it fit to hold Pride nights in 2023. The Texas Rangers are the only exception, according to OutSports' recent overview.
Manfred also explained the league's stance on why teams wearing Pride-inspired logos or patches.
"We have told teams, in terms of actual uniforms, hats, bases that we don't think putting logos on them is a good idea just because of the desire to protect players," Manfred said, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, "not putting them in a position of doing something that may make them uncomfortable because of their personal views."
The Tampa Bay Rays made headlines last season when several of their players elected against wearing the team's rainbow-themed gear, citing their personal beliefs. MLB, evidently wanting to avoid similar issues this year, issued an edict urging teams to not use uniform space on causes that were not selected by the league itself.
Here's more on that, courtesy of Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:
The Rays changed their plan for this year's celebration after teams were told at an owners meeting in February that MLB did not want uniform space used to promote specific causes that were not league-driven, such as for Mother's Day or to honor Jackie Robinson. (MLB's directive followed not only the Rays' 2022 issues but also considerable controversy over several NHL teams canceling or altering plans for Pride night events due to players' objections.)
MLB did permit the Giants and Dodgers to wear Pride patches this season because of a preexisting agreement, per Topkin.
Teams have found different ways to show their support for Pride and the LGBTQIA+ community. The Rays, for their part, have added a decal to their right-field wall that reads "Baseball is for Everyone."