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MLB moving All-Star Game out of Atlanta due to Georgia’s draconian voting restrictions

The 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Cleveland, Ohio.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball is moving this year’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta because of the new draconian voting restrictions that Georgia’s state government enacted last month.

Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred announced the decision Friday afternoon, stating that the relocation of the annual showcase of the national pastime’s greatest stars — many of whom are elected to the contest by fans across the league — is the strongest statement the league could make in opposition to the voting restrictions.

At this point, MLB has not yet announced where the All-Star Game will be held this season. Manfred said the league is “finalizing a new host city, and details about these events will be announced shortly.” 

New York last hosted the All-Star Game in 2013, when the Mets welcomed the game’s best players to Citi Field. The Yankees hosted their most recent All-Star Game in 2008, the final year of the old Yankee Stadium; the new Stadium has yet to host the event.

“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with clubs, former and current players, the [Major League Baseball] Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views,” Manfred said in an April 2 statement. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”

The commissioner noted that the league engaged with the non-partisan Civic Alliance in 2020 to encourage participation in the democratic process. The 2020 elections had record turnout nationwide, and resulted in the election of Democrat Joe Biden over Republican Donald Trump as president of the United States.

Georgia was one of the states Biden carried in the electoral college; the state also elected two Democrats to the U.S. Senate in a January runoff election. In the wake of those outcomes, the Republican-controlled Georgia state legislature, and Brian Kemp, the state’s Republican governor, supported, passed and enacted a wave of voting restrictions — including banning mobile polling site locations, increasing ID requirements, cutting down on absentee ballot requests and even prohibiting people from offering water or food to voters waiting on a line at a polling site.

The restrictions — guised by its supporters as an effort to ensure voting integrity — sparked national outrage. Corporations including Coca-Cola, which is headquartered in Atlanta, have also publicly decried the new voting laws in the Peach State. 

President Biden has also condemned the restrictions as “Jim Crow on steroids,” and on March 31, suggested that MLB move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta. The Braves had been scheduled to host the exhibition contest on July 13 of this year, along with the Home Run Derby and other festivities associated with the annual celebration of baseball.

The league will nonetheless continue its “planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects,” the commissioner added.

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