MLB’s Home-run Hit

Javier Sarmiento

MLB (Major League Baseball) announced last Friday that the 2021 MLB All-Star game and the MLB draft will be relocatedout of Atlanta, where it is was scheduled to take place.

This action is due to the recent laws passed in Georgia, that restricts voter registration and rights to communities of color in the state.

The MLB commissioner Rob Manfred came out with statement regarding the decision. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” Manfred said. “In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.” Following the decision, there was a ton of pushback from critics.

Former president Donald Trump blasted the move and urged his supporters to, “boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections.”  Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp weighed in. “This attack on our state is the direct result of repeated lies from (President) Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams about a bill that expands access to the ballot box and ensures the integrity of our elections,” Kemp said in a statement, referring to the Democratic candidate whom he narrowly defeated in the 2018 election. “I will not back down. Georgians will not be bullied.”

Georgia state House Speaker David Ralston, vowed to stand behind the new law.

The MLB did the right thing to take their events out of Georgia. They say that they are all in with the efforts for an inclusive and equitable world, so this is their chance to show it. You can’t say one thing and do another.

To get deeper into why this is so important, I must start with SB 202. SB 202 is a voting law that was passed to ensure “voter security and integrity” into the voting system. Here is a synopsis of what effects the law has on voters.

  • Voters will now have less time to request absentee ballots.
  • There are strict new ID requirements for absentee ballots.
  • It’s now illegal for election officials to mail out absentee ballot applications to all voters.
  • Drop boxes still exist … but barely.
  • Offering food or water to voters waiting in line now risks misdemeanor charges.
  • If you go to the wrong polling place, it will be (even) harder to vote.

MLB is an international league with players from 20 different countries. Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the world, along with football and basketball. The League has a major platform and its leaders should do what they feel is right.

People might feel it isn’t great for their business to be involved in politics, as majority of their fanbase is white. But the result of hosting the All-Star game in Atlanta only to have a voting law passed where it restricts voter registration and rights to communities of color was the final straw for them. This is an ethics issue as you can’t make restrictions and make it harder to vote for citizens of the state. It is a right that we are given and it can’t be taken away.