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OC Register: Whicker: MLB moving the All-Star Game is a typically empty gesture


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The All-Star Game never knew it was so important.

Except for sponsors and incentive clauses, it would have little reason to live. In 2002 the managers were so engaged that they ran out of pitchers. Take away Pedro Martinez’s magic night in Fenway Park, and Ichiro Suzuki’s inside-the-park home run in San Francisco, and what do you really remember?

But now baseball has moved the game from Atlanta to Denver because of Georgia’s new election regulations, and the All-Star Game is suddenly bigger than Dr. Seuss. Republicans are threatening to lift baseball’s antitrust exemption (and Democrats welcome them to their world). Corporations in Georgia are pushing for laws to supersede the new ones. Sen. Mitch McConnell says corporations should butt out of politics. Gov. Brian Kemp says the law isn’t really that restrictive. Former President Trump says Kemp should lose his job.

You never knew that a political baseball could have such a spin rate.

The truth is that MLB has chosen a gesture over a commitment. No one will be disadvantaged except the stadium and hospitality workers in Atlanta. That is why Stacey Abrams opposes it and why Democratic state legislators in Cobb County, where the stadium is, do as well. Perhaps MLB commissioner Rob Manfred should have talked to them, or somebody.

This goes back at least to 1980, when dissident Andrei Sakharov convinced President Carter to boycott the Moscow Olympics. The given reason was the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Moscow held the Olympics anyway and then led a boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics of 1984. The Afghans eventually drove out the Soviets, 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 American Olympic athletes. There was no rain check. Their Games were gone forever.

Apparently, no one in the current State Department remembers this. The U.S. is actively looking for partners to boycott the Beijing Winter Games of 2022.

More frivolous were the calls to cancel the Tour Championship, the season-ending event of the PGA Tour. It is held at Eastlake Golf Club in south Atlanta, has been each year since 2005.

Eastlake was Bobby Jones’ home course, but when the neighborhood was consumed by drugs and poverty, Atlanta business leaders established the Eastlake Foundation. The profits from the tournament went into new housing projects and Drew Charter School. What the cops once called “Little Vietnam” has cut crime by 99 percent, and there are new modern developments to replace the 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 a block of time on the 6 o’clock news really worth interrupting something that real? Then Sen. Mario Rubio hit Manfred in the solar plexus when he wondered why Manfred didn’t abandon his membership at Augusta National Golf Club. That was just Twitter shrapnel, of course, but in 2003 there were very serious demonstrations during the Masters.

The issue was the all-male membership. There are now six women among the membership, including Condoleezza Rice and various CEOs and executive vice presidents and other members in good standing of the One Percent. The protesters went away and America and Augusta National were unchanged.

Sometimes it works. Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham wanted to change the observance of Martin Luther King to Sunday, so workers wouldn’t get a day off. The NFL pulled its Super Bowl, which stung the state both economically and egotistically because it would have been Arizona’s first and Arizona voters approved the holiday two years later.

The NCAA lifted its championships from North Carolina after Gov. Pat McCrory signed a “bathroom bill,” aimed against the transgender community. One of those events was the first weekend of the 2017 NCAA basketball tournament, which meant a Charlotte sub-regional was moved to Greenville, S.C. McCrory lost re-election, the legislature overturned the law, and basketballs were again bounced on Tobacco Road in March.

Those were consequential, clear-cut issues. The effect of the Georgia voting laws is not as certain. But that debate has nothing to do with this outbreak of dilettante politics.

There are ways to change things. NBA players do it all the time. Manfred could have asked Abrams for ways that the All-Stars could help voters register. Maybe some of the game’s profits could have gone into Fair Fight or the New Voters Project.

What we do know is the laws won’t change before October. The playoffs will follow, and the Braves might be in them. What then? Nothing. Baseball’s intention span never lasts that long.

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MLB lost their opportunity to use their influence on the conversation by taking their ball and going home.  Idiots.  By moving the game away from Atlanta, the voting rights conversation that was appar

Big deal. He told me the same thing.

The all-star game was ruined many years ago.  During the Pete Rose-Ray Fosse days, I couldn't wait for the game to start because true professional pride was displayed.  Nowadays, I can't wait for the

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The all-star game was ruined many years ago.  During the Pete Rose-Ray Fosse days, I couldn't wait for the game to start because true professional pride was displayed.  Nowadays, I can't wait for the all-star break to end and we can get back to regular baseball. The extra day off is just another perturbance.  Honestly, who watches the NBA all-star, Pro-Bowl, or MLB all-star games anymore?  Let's just select honorary all-stars and continue with the season!  

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MLB lost their opportunity to use their influence on the conversation by taking their ball and going home.  Idiots.  By moving the game away from Atlanta, the voting rights conversation that was apparently important to MLB essentially stops and changes to something less important.

 

Fuck off with the cancel culture bullshit replies......This move by MLB is further evidence of a growing sickness in our society brought about by our reluctance to engage in meaningful and difficult conversations.  MLB should have kept the game in Atlanta to honor examples of people who were not afraid to engage in difficult conversations such as MLK and other civil rights leaders. 

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1 hour ago, Jason said:

Maybe MLB should focus on baseball and stay out of politics and leave that to the politicians? Fuck politics as it's what divides us the most 

Baseball's long history is interwoven with our nation's history.  Baseball can not operate in a vacuum, like it once did.  MLB needs to walk a fine line because baseball fans and players come from diverse backgrounds.  The game is already having a difficult time attracting young fans and pissing people off is not good for business.

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It's hilarious that they move the game away from Atlanta, a largely African-American metropolis because they now require an ID to vote, and that is apparently racist, to Colorado, a largely wealthy white American area that also requires a valid ID to vote. 

SJW's accomplished nothing other than proving MLB will bow down to them. 

Cancel culture, like a snake too stupid to realize it's sinking it's fangs into it's own tail. They're a cancer on society.

Baseball could've honored African American heritage, they could've kept just stayed out of it, they could've done a hundred different things that would've been a proper action to take. Instead, Manfred screwed it up, just like he does everything else. 

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58 minutes ago, Jay said:

At least this controversy creates some buzz.

Are people more or less inclined to watch the game now?

 

 

Ratings have been in decline for the game for a while now. They've set records for the lowest viewership totals in 3 of the last 4 years it's been played. If there's a small bump or decline this year, I don't think you can directly link it to this alleged controversy one way or the other.

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6 hours ago, eligrba said:

MLB lost their opportunity to use their influence on the conversation by taking their ball and going home.  Idiots.  By moving the game away from Atlanta, the voting rights conversation that was apparently important to MLB essentially stops and changes to something less important.

 

Fuck off with the cancel culture bullshit replies......This move by MLB is further evidence of a growing sickness in our society brought about by our reluctance to engage in meaningful and difficult conversations.  MLB should have kept the game in Atlanta to honor examples of people who were not afraid to engage in difficult conversations such as MLK and other civil rights leaders. 

Cancel culture is nonsense. Kemp is trying to cancel citizens ability to vote. So MLB is cancelling Georgia's chance at making money off of their Game. It goes both ways. For every action, there is a reaction.

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33 minutes ago, jsnpritchett said:

Ratings have been in decline for the game for a while now. They've set records for the lowest viewership totals in 3 of the last 4 years it's been played. If there's a small bump or decline this year, I don't think you can directly link it to this alleged controversy one way or the other.

But if there is a decline, you know they will.

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2 hours ago, jsnpritchett said:

Ratings have been in decline for the game for a while now. They've set records for the lowest viewership totals in 3 of the last 4 years it's been played. If there's a small bump or decline this year, I don't think you can directly link it to this alleged controversy one way or the other.

Agreed. All star games are pretty much worthless. Kind of like Super Bowl halftime shows 

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3 hours ago, greginpsca said:

Cancel culture is nonsense. Kemp is trying to cancel citizens ability to vote. So MLB is cancelling Georgia's chance at making money off of their Game. It goes both ways. For every action, there is a reaction.

How is requiring ID cancelling a citizens ability to vote? Their laws now match Colorado. Is Colorado cancelling citizens ability to vote?

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