Major League Baseball has moved its all-star game from Atlanta to Denver. In protest against reactionary electoral laws in Georgia.
When the heavyweights step into the ring, you know that something important is at stake. First, ex-President Barack Obama volunteered and congratulated Major League Baseball (MLB) on “showing their attitude”. Of course, his successor Donald Trump had to take the opposite position and immediately called for a “boycott of baseball”.
In fact, the MLB had no choice but to cancel the Atlanta Allstar game
What happened? The MLB had decided not to let the all-star game and the draft, the selection of young talents, take place in Atlanta as planned. Instead, the best baseball professionals should now meet on July 13th in Denver for their exhibition match.
The reason: The newly passed electoral laws in the state of Georgia, which, in the opinion of most observers, aim to make voting more difficult for minorities in particular and thereby secure Republican majorities. Acting President Joe Biden called the legislation “Jim Crow on anabolic steroids” and “Jim Crow for the 21st century,” and MLB boss Rob Manfred said the decision was “to demonstrate our values.”
Now you might be wondering: All the fuss about a single baseball game? Aren’t there thousands of them every year? Yes, but the annual all-star game is not just a show event, it is also a significant economic factor. It is estimated that the city of Atlanta will lose over $ 100 million in sales due to the cancellation of the fun party – and these numbers are even lower than usual due to the pandemic-related restrictions.
Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines are also threatened
The loss of image is even more serious for Atlanta. Above all, the rejection is a symbol that radiates to other, much more profitable industries than professional sport. Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, which have their corporate headquarters in Atlanta, have already expressed their dissatisfaction with electoral laws and signaled to move investments and jobs from Georgia to other states. 200 US companies have signed a protest note. Trump threatened not only the MLB with a boycott, but also such “woken companies”.
To be “woke”, that is, to be particularly attentive to social injustice and racism, that really couldn’t be accused of the MLB so far. The baseball league is considered to be the most conservative of the four major sports leagues in the United States, and its audience is even whiter and older than even that of the NHL’s ice hockey competition. Again and again there is criticism that minorities are underrepresented in management and coaching staff.
In fact, the MLB was left with no choice but to cancel the all-star game in Atlanta. Not only had the head of the players’ union implied that “the players are very aware of the new laws”, and individual actors had already announced that they would want to stay away from the show in Atlanta. It was also planned to honor Hank Aaron, who died in February at the age of 86, during the festivities.
Aaron, who played for the Atlanta Braves for nearly a quarter of a century, went down in baseball history as the first person to collect more home runs than the mystical legend Babe Ruth. For this, Aaron, who grew up in the south of the USA when the original Jim Crow laws still prevailed there, had to endure racist attacks for years and received sacks of death threats in the mail. The fact that Aaron endured the hostility with superhuman composure and great dignity made him a symbol of the black struggle for justice.
Now it remains to be seen whether moving the Allstar game will help preserve Hank Aaron’s legacy. He himself was pessimistic as to whether the sport could really have a political effect. “Black giants are allowed to be on the field,” he once said. “But if you stop playing, it will come to an end and you can sit at the end of the bus again.”