Moving major league baseball's all-star game out of Atlanta brought the "midsummer classic" its largest national attention in years.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred made the right choice in moving the All-Star game because of Georgia's law to suppress black voting rights.
Sadly, the baseball all-star game's interest among sports fans has dwindled for years. Once the National League and American League all-stars competed to win, but now the event is a meaningless exhibition.
Manfred's announcement contrasted with the NBA's insistence on holding its all-star game a month ago in Atlanta, against the initial trepidation of LeBron James and other stars.
The NBA game was played without fans and the usual onslaught of visitors. The Georgia Legislature had not yet approved the voting legislation, which Gov. Brian Kemp quickly signed into law. However, even more restrictive voter suppression bills were circulating, met by the NBA's silence.
Baseball traditionalists remember when the all-star game lineups were filled with black stars, like the NBA showcase is now. But fewer and fewer blacks play in the major leagues, making the game a nearly all-white affair.
Manfred and MLB must choose among a dwindling number of suitable states because of the GOP’s national effort to strike out black voters. That’s the Republican cancel culture.
Kansas City has the black baseball museum, but Missouri might approve its own anti-voting law. Texas, Michigan and Florida are out too. Some suggested Mobile, the home of perennial all-stars Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, but Alabama is the reddest of states, and Amazon battles a union push by mostly black workers in Bessemer, Ala.
To honor Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn would be appropriate, but the site of Ebbets Field is now a housing complex. Robinson would have hated for Yankee Stadium to be awarded the game, but the Mets have claimed the Brooklyn Dodgers' legacy, along with that of the Dodgers' bitter foe, the New York Giants.
For a more direct connection, Brooklyn's Cyclone Field, the home of the borough's minor league team, would be an off-beat choice.
Last year's all-star game in Los Angeles was canceled because of Covid, and Los Angeles hosts the game next year, which likely will preclude the home of Robinson's franchise from having the game this year. Forgotten is that the Dodgers destroyed the Mexican Chavez Ravine neighborhood to build Dodger Stadium.
It's sad that outside of a dying number of baseball traditionalists, few fans would care if the game were canceled this year as well. Or forever.
Washington Post columnist Kevin Blackistone, who began the push to move the all-star game from Atlanta, acknowledged on the ESPN gab-show "Around the Horn" that the newspaper he writes for is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who's brutally sought to crush the Bessemer union movement.
Blackistone so far hasn't called for a boycott of Amazon.
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