NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball announced Friday that this summer’s All-Star game would be relocated from Truist Park in Atlanta. This is in response to Georgia enacted a new law restricting voting rights last month.
MLB had awarded the game to Atlanta in May 2019, and the game was scheduled for July 13th as part of baseball’s midsummer break, which includes the futures game on July 11th and the home run derby the following night.
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Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to postpone the All-Star events and the amateur draft, which was to be held in Atlanta for the first time. A new baseball field for this year’s events was not immediately revealed.
MLB’s announcement came eight days after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a major Republican-sponsored revision of the state election that included new restrictions on postal voting and increased legislative control over the conduct of elections.
Manfred made the decision after talking to the Major League Baseball Players Association, individual players, and the Players Alliance, a black player organization founded after George Floyd’s death last year.
“I’ve decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is to move this year’s All-Star Game and MLB draft,” Manfred said in a statement. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports the voting rights of all Americans and opposes ballot box restrictions.”
“Fair access to voting continues to be steadfastly supported by our game,” said Manfred.
Other sports have postponed high profile events due to social issues.
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In the early 1990s, the NFL moved the Super Bowl out of Arizona after the state failed to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day an official holiday.
The NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina when the league challenged a state law restricting anti-discrimination protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
For years, the NCAA did not hold championships in states that officially recognized the Confederate flag.
This year’s All-Star Game includes honoring Hank Aaron, the Braves’ Hall of Famer and former career home run champion, who passed away on January 22nd at the age of 86.
“We will continue our plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron during this season’s All-Star Celebrations,” said Manfred. Additionally, MLB’s planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta will continue as part of our All-Star Legacy projects. We are completing a new host city and details of these events will be announced shortly. “
MLB has canceled last year’s All-Star Game, which was scheduled for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, due to the late and shortened season due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The 2022 game will be played at Dodger Stadium.
MLB has awarded Philadelphia the All-Star Game 2026 as part of the celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
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The 1972 All-Star Game was played at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and the 2000 All-Star Game was played at Turner Field in Atlanta.