The progressive heroes or “woke” decision-makers of the MLB (lol) made an uncharacteristically bold choice to strip Georgia of the 2021 All-Star Game. It’s a move that now plays into the hands of political opportunists like Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
Today, Abbott said he would not throw out the first pitch at this afternoon’s full-capacity Rangers home opener, because he’s upset about MLB pulling its All-Star Game out of Georgia due to the state’s recent attempt to restrict voting.
Among the many things the Georgia legislation does is enact strict voter ID laws for absentee ballots, slash voter drop boxes, and make it illegal to pass out water and food to those in voting lines. The Georgia law has been challenged by several civil rights groups as well. These are some of the reasons why Major League Baseball does not want to host its Summer Classic in the state. That, of course, is the thing that pisses Abbott off. Not hours-long lines to participate in democracy, not examples of Black voter suppression, not even pro-sports stadium voting. Nope. Abbott is aggravated about moving the MLB All-Star Game.
This afternoon, he tweeted his letter to Rangers President and COO Neil Leibman, with a caption that read: “I was looking forward to throwing out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ home opening game until @MLB adopted what has turned out to be a false narrative about Georgia’s election law reforms. It is shameful that America’s pastime is being influenced by partisan politics.”
There’s a lot to unpack in those 274 characters, but let’s start with the phrase “false narrative.” Is it just me, or does anyone else remember legislators who complained about “voter fraud” in the 2020 election? Then those same legislators proceeded to draft legislation based on the false narrative of a “stolen election”? Does that ring a bell?
What about the phrase “partisan politics”? I mean, it’s kind of interesting. The same people who complain about the politicization of sports are probably rejoicing that a politician has made a political statement before a baseball game. Do we like politics and sports now when we get to OWN THE LIBS!? The hypocrisy of it all was summed up perfectly by ESPN’s Howard Bryant over the weekend.
Really, all this is fodder for culture war bullshit. This doesn’t help anyone. It’s like when Greg Abbott lifted his state’s mask mandate last month. He did so enthusiastically at a time when nearly 400,000 Texans were under a boil water advisory from a mismanaged snowstorm. These are the priorities of our leaders, folks — they’ll take whatever trending topic allows them to rant on basic cable.
It’s also perplexing to think that “partisan politics” have not “influenced” sports before. You see, in 2016, the NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game out of North Carolina due to the state’s HB2, otherwise known as the discriminatory “bathroom bill” against transgender North Carolinians. And in 1991 the NFL moved the 1993 Super Bowl out of Arizona because voters in that state refused to make MLK day to be an official state holiday.
The world kept spinning, and bad laws changed. We’ve since had Super Bowls in Arizona and a 2019 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte. Hopefully the MLB All-Star Game can return to Georgia sometime in the future, assuming the state gets its shit together.
Unbelievably, here is the ballpark as it looks today: