The all-star game never knew it was so important.
With the exception of sponsors and incentive clauses, it would have little reason to be alive. In 2002 the managers were so engaged they ran out of pitchers. Take away Pedro Martinez’s magical night in Fenway Park and Ichiro Suzuki’s home race in the park in San Francisco, and what do you really remember?
But now baseball has moved the game from Atlanta to Denver due to new Georgia election regulations, and the all-star game is suddenly bigger than Dr. Seuss. Republicans are threatening to lift the antitrust exemption for baseball (and Democrats embrace it in their world). Companies in Georgia are pushing for laws to replace the new ones. Senator Mitch McConnell says companies should get out of politics. Governor Brian Kemp says the law isn’t really that restrictive. Former President Trump says Kemp should lose his job.
You never thought a political baseball could have such a spin rate.
The truth is that MLB preferred a gesture to a commitment. Nobody will be disadvantaged except for the stadium and hospitality workers in Atlanta. That’s why Stacey Abrams is against it and so is the Democratic legislature in Cobb County, where the stadium is located. Perhaps MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred should have spoken to them or someone.
This goes back at least to 1980, when the dissident Andrei Sakharov convinced President Carter to boycott the Moscow Olympics. The reason given was the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. Moscow held the Olympics anyway and then boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. The Afghans eventually drove out the Soviets, but the real victims were Anita DeFrantz rowing, Craig Beardsley swimming, Donald Curry boxing, Isaiah Thomas and Denise Curry playing basketball, and 465 other American Olympic athletes. There was no rain control. Your games were gone forever.
Apparently nobody in the current State Department remembers it. The US is actively looking for partners to boycott the Beijing Winter Games of 2022.
The calls to cancel the Tour Championship, the end of the season of the PGA Tour, were frivolous. It takes place at Eastlake Golf Club in South Atlanta and has been held annually since 2005.
Eastlake was Bobby Jones’ home course, but when the neighborhood was consumed by drugs and poverty, Atlanta business leaders created the Eastlake Foundation. The profits from the tournament went to new housing projects and the Drew Charter School. What the police once called “Little Vietnam” has reduced crime by 99 percent, and there are new modern developments to replace hopelessness.
In fact, Drew Charter’s all-black golf team became the first Atlanta public school to win the Georgia 4-A State Championship in 2019.
Is it really worth breaking a block of time on the 6 o’clock news to break something so real? Then Senator Mario Rubio hit Manfred in the solar plexus when he wondered why Manfred was not giving up his membership in the Augusta National Golf Club. That was just a Twitter splinter, of course, but there were very serious demonstrations during the Masters in 2003.
The problem was the all-male membership. There are now six women in the membership, including Condoleezza Rice and various CEOs and Executive Vice Presidents as well as other members with a good reputation for One Percent. The protesters left and America and Augusta National stayed unchanged.
Sometimes it works. Arizona governor Evan Mecham wanted to change Martin Luther King observance to Sunday so workers would not have a day off. The NFL drew their Super Bowl, which stung the state both economically and selfishly, because it would have been Arizona’s first and Arizona voters would have approved the holiday two years later.
The NCAA suspended their North Carolina championships after Governor Pat McCrory signed a “bathroom bill” targeting the transgender community. One of those events was the first weekend of the 2017 NCAA basketball tournament, which meant a subregional Charlotte was relocated to Greenville, SC McCrory lost re-election, lawmakers overturned the law, and basketballs ricocheted again on Tobacco Road in March.
These were clear follow-up problems. The effect of Georgian electoral laws is not so certain. However, this debate has nothing to do with this eruption of amateur politics.
There are ways to change things. NBA players do it all the time. Manfred could have asked Abrams about ways the All-Stars could help voters register. Perhaps some of the game’s winnings could go towards 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 be in them. So what? Nothing. Baseball’s span of intent never lasts that long.