ST. LOUIS — Major League Baseball altered its course Wednesday night by inviting Dirk Nowitzki to throw out a first pitch before one of the three World Series games at Rangers Ballpark after initially passing on the Dallas Mavericks forward.
Commissioner Bud Selig ordered the reversal after learning that Nowitzki hadn't been selected. Nowitzki accepted the invitation and will throw the ceremonial pitch Saturday before Game 3.
MLB spokesman Pat Courtney spread the news early in Game 1 of the World Series after a report earlier in the day said that Nowitzki had been bypassed because MLB didn't want to entangle itself in the NBA labor strife.
The Rangers haven't announced the other two first-pitch honorees.
MLB did not intend to snub Nowitzki when it originally chose another nominee.
"It was not meant at all as a slight to Dirk Nowitzki," Courtney said. "We realize that he's a beloved person in Dallas. At the World Series, there are three first-pitch throwers, and we were lucky to be presented with a list of people to be considered. They selected three people that they felt would be good candidates."
Teams determine first-pitch ceremonies during the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs. For the World Series, though, clubs send a list of 10 to 15 nominations to MLB, and officials pare the list down to three.
Team president and CEO Nolan Ryan, former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins threw out ceremonial first pitches last year before Rangers home games in the World Series.
Nowitzki attended Game 6 of the American League Championship Series and threw out a first pitch June 25, about two weeks after the Mavs won the NBA title.