The All-Star Game never knew it was so important.
Apart from the sponsors and the incentive clauses, he would have little reason to live. In 2002, the managers were so committed that they ran out of pitchers. Take Pedro Martinez’s magical night in Fenway Park and Ichiro Suzuki’s home run to San Francisco, and what do you really remember?
But now baseball has moved the game from Atlanta to Denver due to Georgia’s new electoral rules, and the All-Star Game is suddenly bigger than Dr. Seuss. Republicans are threatening to lift baseball’s antitrust exemption (and Democrats are welcoming them to their world). Georgian businesses are pushing for laws to replace new ones. Senator Mitch McConnell said companies should step back from politics. Governor Brian Kemp says the law is not really restrictive. Former President Trump has said Kemp should lose his job.
You never knew that political baseball could have such a high turnover rate.
The truth is, MLB chose a move over a commitment. No one will be disadvantaged except the stadium and reception workers in Atlanta. This is why Stacey Abrams opposes it and why Democratic lawmakers in the states of Cobb County, where the stadium is located, are doing so as well. Maybe MLB commissioner Rob Manfred should have talked to them, or someone else.
It dates back at least to 1980, when dissident Andrei Sakharov convinced President Carter to boycott the Moscow Olympics. The reason given was the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. Moscow still hosted the Olympics and then led a boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The Afghans eventually chased the Soviets out, but the real victims were Anita DeFrantz in rowing, Craig Beardsley in swimming, Donald Curry in boxing , Isaiah Thomas and Denise Curry in basketball, and 465 other US Olympians. There was no rain control. Their Games were gone forever.
Apparently no one in the current State Department remembers it. The United States is actively seeking partners to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.
More frivolous were the calls for the cancellation of the Tour Championship, the PGA Tour’s end-of-season event. It has been held at the Eastlake Golf Club in South Atlanta every year since 2005.
Eastlake was Bobby Jones’ home class, but when the neighborhood was plagued by drugs and poverty, Atlanta business leaders created the Eastlake Foundation. Proceeds from the tournament were invested in new housing projects and the Drew Charter School. What cops once called “Little Vietnam” has reduced crime by 99%, and there are new modern developments to replace desperation.
In fact, Drew Charter’s all-black golf team became the first Atlanta public school to win the Georgia State 4-A Championship, in 2019.
Is a 6 hour block of time on the news really worth interrupting something so real? Then Senator Mario Rubio hit Manfred in the solar plexus when he wondered why Manfred had not abandoned his Augusta National Golf Club membership. It was just bursts of Twitter, of course, but in 2003 there were some very serious protests during the Masters.
The problem was the all-male membership. There are now six women, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and various CEOs and executive vice presidents and other members of the One Percent in good standing. The protesters are gone and America and Augusta National have remained unchanged.
Sometimes it works. Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham wanted to change Martin Luther King’s observance to Sunday, so workers didn’t have a day off. The NFL withdrew its Super Bowl, which stung the state both economically and selfishly, as it would have been Arizona’s first and Arizona voters approved the vacation two years later.
The NCAA lifted its North Carolina championships after Gov. Pat McCrory signed a “toilet bill,” aimed at the transgender community. One of those events was the first weekend of the 2017 NCAA basketball tournament, which meant that a Charlotte sub-region was moved to Greenville, SC McCrory lost re-election, the legislature was overturned the law and basketballs bounced off Tobacco Road again in March. .
These were big and clear issues. The effect of Georgian electoral laws is not so certain. But this debate has nothing to do with this outbreak of dilettante politics.
There are ways to make a difference. NBA players do it all the time. Manfred could have asked Abrams how the All-Stars could help voters register. Maybe some of the profits from the game could have been spent on Fair Fight or the New Voters Project.
What we do know is that the laws won’t change until October. The playoffs will follow and the Braves could participate. Then what ? Nothing. Baseball’s intent span never lasts that long.