Because some people think a certain Arizona immigration bill is a very bad thing, many of those same people are taking it out on the Arizona Diamondbacks, threatening a boycott. This is, pardon my French, retarded.
When Arizona pushed through its controversial immigration bill, there was a lot of anger. But almost immediately, it was misdirected. (Arizona Iced Tea had to put out a statement clarifying that they're not actually based in Arizona.) Certain folks, let's call them Iced Tea Partiers, really like protesting, and they'll go after any high-profile target associated with the state.
And yes, that includes the Arizona Diamondbacks. When we touched on a proposed D-Back boycott earlier in the week, we dismissed it out of hand. But it's been picking up momentum. A congressman has called for Chase Field to lose the 2011 All-Star Game. Protesters showed up at Wrigley yesterday, as they plan to for every game of Arizona's weekend series in Chicago (hopefully they're aware that the visiting team pockets a portion of the gate receipts.)
Everyone should be disappointed in themselves when the voice of reason is an athlete's Twitter feed. But Oakland's Brad Ziegler spelled out the misguidedness of a boycott, clear as day:
Do people really think that boycotting baseball games in Arizona is going to eventually lead to removal of the new immigration law? All it's going to do is hurt the D-backs. It's not much fun to play in front of an empty stadium in your home park. We're going through that when A's fans boycott our games because ownership has threatened to move the team. The lack of fans gives them all the more reason to seek other alternatives for a new home city. And the players get punished, having to play in an empty stadium for something that we have nothing to do with. You can make your opinions known in lots of ways, but ultimately, boycotting games affects the players more than the owners. Just remember, to most owners, having a baseball team is a hobby on the side. They all made their money elsewhere before buying the team.
And what about those owners? Most of the anger has focused on Ken Kendrick, the team's managing partner and a vocal Republican supporter. Well, Kendrick is one of about 75 actual owners, and not even a majority shareholder. Look at any ownership group in pro sports, and you're bound to find some (probably most) are Republican donors.
Oh, and there's this. Kendrick is on record as opposing the immigration bill.
To the protesters: I understand that boycotts are meant to be symbolic, and, since it's not football season, the Diamondbacks are the most prominent target with "Arizona" in their name. But there are more effective ways to spend your time than going after a baseball team.
And to the Diamondbacks: you know, this is what you get when you assign your team to an entire state, rather than a city. I don't see the Phoenix Suns taking shit, do you? Hope that wider marketing net was worth it.