STRIKEOUT: MLB to Relocate All-Star Game to Denver From Atlanta — State with Similar Voting Laws
Coors Field in Denver is set to be named host of the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, according to multiple reports.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced last week the game would not be played in Atlanta as scheduled due to new voting laws approved in Georgia that critics consider restrictive.
“I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft,” Manfred said. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
The Associated Press, ESPN, and MLB Network reported late Monday that the league had settled on Colorado for the July 13 Midsummer Classic.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the city expects “many dominoes are going to fall” based on the new Georgia legislation. State officials estimated a loss of around $100 million based on moving the game from Truist Park.
The decision has put America’s pastime at the center of a partisan battle over elections, as several Republican-led states eye bills that would tighten voting rules. Democrats largely backed the relocation as a stand for voting rights while Republicans criticized the league and companies that oppose the law for caving into liberal pressure.The new Georgia law requires voters to provide a state-issued identification card when requesting an absentee ballot, limits drop boxes, and lets any Georgian challenge the voting eligibility of an unlimited number of voters, among other restrictions. It also expands some early-voting hours.
Democrats say the Georgia law is designed to depress Democrat turnout in reaction to President Joe Biden winning the presidency last fall and the party winning the state’s two Senate seats in January.
Companies including Delta Air Lines Inc. and the Coca-Cola Co., both based in Atlanta, have criticized the new law. Delta CEO Ed Bastian said after the law was passed that the “entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie” about widespread voter fraud in Georgia elections in 2020. Biden also endorsed the MLB’s decision to move the All-Star Game.
Republicans have pushed back with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell slamming the “outrage-industrial complex,” and GOP leaders broadly defending the measure as necessary to restore faith in the voting process. Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott canceled plans to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ home opener, citing the MLB’s ban. Texas is considering legislation similar to the Georgia law.
This report contains material from Reuters, The Associated Press, and Bloomberg News.
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