HOUSTON - Major League Baseball Chief Revenue Officer Noah Garden said in a statement Wednesday that Mattress Firm was not involved in the decision to cancel the ceremonial first pitch by Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale during the first game of the American League Division Series.
"Promotional opportunities, like sponsor first pitches, during the Postseason are reserved for national partners," Garden said in the statement. "As a result, MLB independently requested a change to the first pitch. Mattress Firm was not involved in that decision and did not ask for the communication between MLB and the Club."
Mattress Mack was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch during the game between the Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins at Minute Maid Park on Saturday.
However, a few hours before the game was set to begin, Mattress Mack took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to announce that the offer had been retracted.
"However, I got a call from the Astros a couple of minutes ago, saying that Mattress Firm is a national sponsor of Major League Baseball, which is fine, good for them. And they said that they weren’t going to let me throw out the first pitch," Mattress Mack said in the video.
FILE PHOTO. Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale throws out a ceremonial first pitch as the Houston Astros play the Colorado Rockies at Minute Maid Park on July 04, 2023 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Mattress Firm responded on X, saying that the company doesn’t determine who throws out the first pitch.
In an exclusive statement to FOX 26, Mattress Firm said, "Mattress Mack has made significant contributions to the local community, and we would never stand in the way of him throwing out a first pitch for the Astros. While we weren’t consulted and have no involvement in the decision, if asked, we would fully support having him throw out the first pitch. Mattress Firm is cheering for our hometown heroes, the Houston Astros, and hope they go all the way again this year."
Mattress Mack previously threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 6 of the 2022 World Series between the Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies. He also threw out the first pitch during an Astros' ALDS game in 2021.
According to MLB:
The home Clubs have the choice of ceremonial first-pitch participants during the Wild Card, Division Series and League Championship Series. In the World Series, the Clubs make a recommendation and MLB reviews and approves it. However, anyone connected to a local sponsor in a category that has a competing national MLB sponsor is not permitted in any round of the Postseason. When it comes to sponsorship rights, regular season games are considered local and the entire Postseason is considered national.
Last year was the first year MLB had a national partner in the mattress category. The World Series first pitch was allowed as a one-year exception since it was a new agreement.