It has been nearly one week after Rob Manfred's stunning announcement that moved the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game out of Atlanta. The move put all corporations in Georgia on notice to denounce the state's voting suppression bill signed by Governor Brian Kemp. A boycott of Coca-Cola products has been ordered, is Chick-Fil-A next? My thoughts. Hank Aaron died earlier this year, and the 2021 MLB All-Star Game in Atlanta aligned perfectly to honor Aaron's legacy, which MLB still intends to do. That said, that makes Manfred's decision to use the event as a political pawn more damning.
As one writer said, the Braves are by far most 'apolitical' sports entity in Atlanta. As the city's stadium and arena were utilized as early polling places and Atlanta Falcons/Atlanta Hawks/Atlanta FC heavily promoted voting for the 2020 fall elections and January senate run-offs, the Braves organization was not visibly involved. It could also be said that the team's move from Turner Field to just outside the perimeter in affluent Cobb County hinted at white flight, knowing much of their ticket buyers and fan base reside in suburban areas. With the Hank Aaron narrative in mind, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett immediately reached out to MLB to have the ASG played at the Milwaukee Brewers venue. Wisconsin was another state where voting controversies occurred in November and has similar voting suppression bills under consideration. Arlington, Texas, with a new stadium that hosted much of the 2020 playoffs and World Series was a logical replacement. However Governor Greg Abbott skipped the Texas Rangers home opener and suggested MLB look elsewhere for All-Star festivities. So MLB settled on Denver, where the Colorado Rockies last hosted the Mid-Summer Classic in 1998. Of course the decision also brings close inspection on whether Colorado's own current voting measures are considered as restrictive as Georgia's would be. And the slippery slope becomes a double-black diamond run at Breckenridge. The Masters Golf tournament is currently being held in Augusta, Georgia with protests outside its pristine gates expected. College football's Kickoff Classic, SEC Championship Game and the Peach Bowl are now suddenly under pressure. The PGA made a statement but plan to keep the 2021 PGA Women's Championship and 2021 Tour Championship in the state. The hustle is expected to expand elsewhere, new voting bills are in the works in Arizona, yet another state Donald Trump narrowly lost (notice the trend?) The leftist sports media is already calling for the National Football League to be on the 'right side of history' and move Super Bowl LVII in February, 2023 out of the state. The Phoenix area earlier saw Super Bowl XXVII relocated over Arizona not recognizing Martin Luther King Day as a state holiday. The Atlanta Braves made a statement in regards to having the rug pulled out of the All-Star Game, the release was immediately derided by the media as being tone-deaf. And if Atlanta wants to hold All-Star festivities anytime in the near future, they will have to get rid of the Braves handle as well. Remember the good old days when Bud Selig was the worst commissioner in the world? His worst transgression was allowing the 2002 All-Star Game to end in a tie and not knowing whether to shit or go blind.