Major League Baseball announced Friday that it was postponing this year’s All-Star game and bailing out of Atlanta in response to a new electoral law in Georgia that critics say will affect non-white voters.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and rejects ballot box restrictions,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement.
“In 2020 MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future where everyone is involved in shaping the United States. We are proud to have used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities in our country to fulfill their civic duties and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to be steadfastly supported by our game. “
MLB planned to hold the 2021 All-Star Game at Truist Park, home of the Braves, and conduct its annual draft in Atlanta during All-Star Week, July 11-13. MLB did not identify a new website for the game or draft in its Friday release, but the league needs to find a decent replacement for the game soon given the amount of planning involved.
One possible location: San Francisco. Oracle Park is among those locations that top the list as a tourist destination due to the beauty of the ballpark and the city’s resources, including a decent number of hotel rooms that could be used on relatively short notice.
It is believed the Giants would be interested in the event, which has not been held in San Francisco since 2007. Many teams won’t feel like playing hosts given the short timeframe, as one of the biggest incentives is the ability to set up corporate sponsors and season ticket holders based on event access prior to the season, which will not be possible for the year.
San Francisco’s current health mandate of 22 percent capacity at Oracle Park could be seen as an obstacle, but by July the park could be almost at full capacity again, and if it doesn’t, other areas of the country are likely to find themselves in a similar situation. Some states that have fewer restrictions on stadium capacity, such as Texas, are considering voter restriction laws similar to Georgia’s, among other things.
MLB continues to plan to celebrate Hank Aaron over the All-Star Weekend and invest in Atlanta communities as part of its All-Star Legacy Projects.
“We are completing a new host city and details of these events will be announced shortly,” the statement said.
Matt Kawahara and Susan Slusser are employees of the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com Twitter: @matthewkawahara @susanslusser