Major League Baseball announced recently that they would be moving their All-Star Game out of Atlanta, and instead housing the heavily anticipated game at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. This announcement came shortly after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed new legislation regarding voting laws.
Many criticized Georgia’s new voter laws, suggesting they were written with the intent to make it more difficult for the state’s black demographic to vote. This sentiment is felt even more heavily in the wake of the historic outpouring of votes in favor of Joe Biden during the last presidential election.
However, a look at Georgia’s new voting laws only reveal measures hoping to restrict any possibility of voter fraud. Georgia will now require some form of identification for in-person voting, something that a bill currently on its way to the Senate hopes to make illegal. If voters do not have photo identification, they can offer the last four digits of their social security number, a utility bill, a bank statement, a government check, a paycheck, or any other government document with their name and address on it; essentially, a very similar list of items that are required at the DMV.
Georgia also put in significant effort to alleviate the new ‘restrictions’ on voters by adding additional early voting days on weekends, and offering standardized hours on these days, so voters know when they will be able to vote.
Comparatively, the voter laws in the new All-Star Game host state are fairly similar. If anything, they seem to make it slightly harder to vote. “Georgia has 17 days of in-person early voting… Colorado has 15…they also have photo ID requirements. So it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me,” said Georgia’s Governor, Brian Kemp after hearing the relocation news.
Major League Baseball’s decision to move the game has, as expected, been met with mixed reviews. Although early reports indicated the game would be moved due to pressure from corporate sponsors, MLB’s commissioner Rob Manfred seems to have taken the support baseball has received and run with it. He calls moving the game “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport,” and continued by adding that Major League Baseball “supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
There were no reports of votes by players, managers, owners, or any other baseball personnel. However, praise has come publicly from baseball people throughout the game. Magic Johnson, NBA Hall of Famer and part-owner of the Dodgers, was one of the biggest names to speak out. Many other Dodgers personnel followed suit, including the Dodgers’ manager, Dave Roberts, who mentioned the possibility of skipping his opportunity to manage the All-Star Game should it be hosted in Atlanta.
In contrast, another Republican lawmaker stood in unity with Georgia and Brian Kemp on Monday, refusing to be acknowledged at the Texas Rangers’ home opener in Arlington. Governors are generally invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the first home game of a season; Governor Abbott of Texas declined the invitation as a show of his disappointment with the MLB.
As previously mentioned the game will be moved, somewhat confusingly, to Colorado, despite their rather similarly restrictive voter laws. Commissioner Manfred cited Colorado as the winning site due to their impressively laid-out planning. They likely had a leg up in the running, as they were on the shortlist for future hosts of the game. All-Star Game hosts are typically announced at least a year in advance to give host cities time to plan, and Denver had been working out proposals to Major League Baseball in hopes of landing a game in the near future. 2021 will be the first time Denver hosts an All-Star Game since 1998, and their second time overall as the game’s site. Los Angeles is slated to host the 2022’s game after losing its opportunity to host in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After building a new stadium for the 2017 season, the Braves were excited to host this year’s mid-season festivities, but Atlanta is now estimated to lose roughly $100 million as a result of missing out on hosting the All-Star Game. The game itself as well as the fanfare surrounding it typically brings tens of thousands of visitors to the town, but the removal of that will be detrimental to the city and the state of Georgia as a whole. The $600 million investment into their five-year-old stadium and surrounding area will now take even longer to see a return with the Braves losing out on this event. Surrounding businesses including restaurants, hotels, and locally owned stores will also feel the blow from that loss of expected income.
President Joe Biden chimed in with his thoughts in support of the game being moved saying “I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly...people look up to them. They’re leaders” and in moving the game they are taking a stand for their beliefs.
Governor Kemp feels quite differently saying “Major League Baseball caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies. Georgians – and all Americans – should fully understand…[that] cancel culture and woke political activists are coming for every aspect of your life…if the left doesn’t agree with you, facts and the truth do not matter.” The movement of this game is just the beginning, the powerful left is forcing their agenda on the temporarily outnumbered right and making their liberal agenda appear to be the norm when in actuality, it is not.