I want to be upfront and honest with you. This post will contain political content.
The reason for that is that politics and baseball have intersected.
The state of Georgia recently passed a law that has been perceived as restricting voting rights.
As a result, Major League Baseball is not going to stage the All-Star Game and related festivities in Atlanta, as originally scheduled.
MLB released the following statement from Commissioner Rob Manfred:
“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.
“We will continue with our plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron during this season’s All-Star festivities. In addition, MLB’s planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects will move forward. We are finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.”
This is a major move by a major sport. The overall financial impact on the city of Atlanta and state of Georgia isn’t that large, but simply making a public statement of this position is a strong stance by Major League Baseball.
This sort of move is not unprecedented. In 1990, NFL owners voted to move the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix because the state of Arizona passed a law refusing to acknowledge Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The NCAA withheld some events from North Carolina due to their so-called “bathroom bill,” though they later changed that because the law was modified.
MLB’s release did not indicate where the All-Star Game and Draft would be held this summer, but I would not be surprised if it went to Los Angeles, where those events were supposed to be held in 2020 before they were cancelled.
I ask that you keep comments on this topic respectful.