Orioles, Baltimore Support Moving All Star Game Out Of Georgia
The Baltimore Orioles organization and the city's mayor support Major League Baseball's decision to move the All Star game out of Atlanta.
The decision by Major League Baseball to pull the All-Star game out of Georgia in the wake of its controversial voting law passage was applauded by the Baltimore Orioles organization and the city's mayor.
A joint statement issued Friday by Orioles Chairman and CEO John Angelos and Mayor Brandon M. Scott said the ball club and the city support the decision to relocate the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft.
"As the birthplace of civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall, we stand united with Commissioner Manfred in denouncing this malicious legislative effort to suppress voters in Georgia and other state legislatures," the Baltimore leaders said.
"Baseball is our national pastime and preserving the right to vote is a pillar of our American democracy. The City of Baltimore and the Birds of Baltimore applaud MLB's patriotism in supporting voting rights, and we encourage everyone to use this moment to fight for fair elections and register eligible Americans to vote and make their voices heard," the statement said.
Georgia's new election law — which limits the use of ballot drop boxes and bans volunteers from handing out food and water to residents waiting in line to vote — has sparked national controversy.
On Friday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the draft and All-Star Game are being relocated from Atlanta. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, said the league had given in to fear.
"Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with clubs, former and current players, the Players Association and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views," Manfred said in a statement. "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 the MLB is still finalizing details with the new host city and will announce the location shortly, although ESPN has reported it will be Los Angeles.
On March 25, the Georgia Legislature passed a sweeping election reform bill sponsored by Republicans in response to former President Donald Trump's contention that he lost the 2020 election due to voting fraud, especially by vote-by-mail and absentee ballots.
The Georgia law places restrictions on voting by mail and increases legislative oversight of elections including taking control of "underperforming" local election systems. It also prohibits campaign staff and special interest groups from giving out food and water to voters waiting in line at the polls.
"Today, @MLB caved to fear, political opportunism, and liberal lies," Kemp tweeted. "I will not back down. Georgians will not be bullied. We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections."
An immediate outcry by Black civil rights leaders and social justice advocates followed Kemp signing the bill into law the same day it passed.
President Joe Biden called the law "Jim Crow in the 21st Century" and "an atrocity," saying the U.S. Justice Department is "taking a look" at the 92-page reform bill.
Major League Baseball estimates the 2021 All-Star Game will generate anywhere from $37 million to $190 million in economic impact. The 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland brought roughly $65 million to the region's economy.
"Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box," Manfred said. "In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the nonpartisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game's unwavering support."