The Case for the People of Atlanta in the All-Star Game Debate

House Bill 202 in Georgia is shaking up more than just the political world. The Atlanta Braves were set to host the 2021 MLB All-Star Game. When the bill passed into law earlier this month, many companies expressed their opinions. MLB was one of them.

This website is a baseball website, not a political website. With that being said, I will not endorse or denounce the law because that is what political websites are for. I will simply be expressing an opinion on MLB’s decision to move the game.

The new law is controversial to say the least. Strong partisan divides have dictated whether or not many people support the law or not. Major League Baseball clearly is on the side that does not support the new voting law because they pulled the All-Star Game out of Atlanta and moved it to Denver.

Somebody who supports the new law would say, “Leave the game where it is. Don’t play politics with the All-Star Game.” People who do not support the law, by and large, are saying, “Move the game. Let’s really stick it to Georgia legislature.” What I am saying is that both sides should want the game to stay in Atlanta.

Again, I am not making any statement on the law itself. I am biased though. I lived in Atlanta, my friends live in Atlanta, I love the Braves, I still have season tickets to the Braves, and I had tickets to this All-Star Game. Clearly, I have my own personal reasons for wanting the game to stay put.

Right Wingers, as mentioned earlier, already want the game to stay in Atlanta, so there is no need to try to convince them. Left Wingers, on the other hand, should hear me out.

Atlanta is 59% minority demographically. Denver is 69% white. If we want to make a statement about how the minority community is being held down in Georgia, shouldn’t we be helping the minority community there economically? Why would we want to let these businesses and restaurants go under when there is a golden opportunity to help them through the Covid slump? Instead, MLB has decided to boost the economy in a white city and tell the minorities in Atlanta that they are helping them.

I can understand wanting to punish the politicians. Their salaries, however, aren’t tied to the presence of the All-Star Game. Not to mention, all 15 representatives from Atlanta are already Democrats so the Republicans aren’t going to lose any seats when the residents of Atlanta lose out on an estimated $100 million in tourist revenue. It is also worth noting that Fox is still going to get to broadcast the game and cash in on the advertisement revenue. The people who are hurting the most because of the game being moved are the everyday residents of the Atlanta metro area and the people who own small businesses there.

If Major League Baseball really cared as much about the minority community in Atlanta as they say they do, they would use the All-Star Game to raise awareness of the issue at hand, use some of the revenue generated to invest in election education and voter registration programs, use their money to influence special interest groups that lobby politicians in Georgia, and most importantly, be physically present for the people that they claim they are doing this for. The NBA has turned State Farm Arena into a voting mega site. Why doesn’t MLB make a statement by turning Truist Park, and, yes, I know it is not inside the Atlanta city limits and is actually located in Cobb County (which still has a minority population of 44% and is much more diverse than Denver), into a voting mega site? Imagine the thrill on Election Day of getting to go to Truist Park, especially for lower income families that do not get to go to baseball games often and still love to support the Braves.

I understand that Major League Baseball is trying to make a statement by moving this game and that their intentions are meant to be pure, but this decision is a swing and a miss as it relates to the people they are “helping.” I would take a joyous event, enough money to save my restaurant, and an investment in the future of my community over a flashy headline and postcard from Colorado any day. MLB could have gotten away with making no statement at all, but they decided to make one. Why not make that statement the most impactful and beneficial one possible?

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