Sports And Politics Collide In Georgia

Major League Baseball announced late last week that it was looking for a new home for this summer’s all-star game.

COVID? No.

Stadium problem? No.

Why then?

An election law.

No, not how the all-stars for the game would be selected or how the reserve players would be added or even how the starting pitcher would be chosen.

None of those things.

Major League Baseball says it could not continue to hold the game in Atlanta as planned because of a newly-passed state law in Georgia that deals with election laws there.

Democrats claim that the election rules changes will make it harder for minority voters to cast a ballot, and therefore is racist. Republicans say it’s meant to assure that people who are legally able to vote are allowed to, but those who aren’t allowed to cannot.

I am not going to tell you which is right or which is wrong. It’s not my job.

And it’s not baseball’s job either.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a prepared statement: “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.”

OK, fine. But it is not Rob Manfred’s job to tell any state how to operate.

It’s not the NBA’s job to tell any state how to operate.

It’s not the NHL’s, MLS’s—no one’s.

Again, what I am saying here is independent of what the Georgia law says. I would never ever want to support or condone racism in any form. But, the slippery slope that we are now sliding on leads to no good.

What do I mean by that?

What if Oral Roberts, Boston College or Notre Dame would say “We are uncomfortable playing against teams whose names are demonic in nature, including Duke (Blue Devils), Arizona State (Sun Devils), Wake Forest (Demon Deacons) or DePaul (Blue Demons) because of our religious standards?

They would be ridiculed. They would chastised.

And they would, most likely, become the focus of negative attention heaped on them from the national media, without mercy, until they relented.

I work at a station that broadcasts the Cubs games, and proudly so.

I have heard from some of your over the weekend that you are done with baseball, and you won’t be listening anymore.

I understand.

Final question: Is Rob Manfred prepared to inject his own opinions on political subjects, or just where it suits him?

Will he pull the baseball team out of the south side of Chicago because of the shootings there? 703 people have been shot in Chicago since New Year’s Day. That’s almost 200 more than all of 2020, and it’s the first week of April. Does baseball care about that? What about the safety of fans attending games at Guaranteed Rate Field?

Will he tell the Twins they have to move from Minneapolis because of the George Floyd incident? I doubt it.

Should he? Of course not.

And had Manfred simply voiced his opinion on the subject, he would be well within his First Amendment Rights to do so. This is way beyond that.

Professional sports leagues have no business sticking their noses into political matters. Period.

You are entertainment. Do your job.

Baseball stepped into foul territory on this one.