Former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent believes moving July’s All-Star Game out of Georgia was an “All-Star Error.” In the Wall Street Journal, Vincent detailed how current commissioner Robert Manfred was wrong to allow politics to force the change, both practically and politically.
The All-Star Game was moved from Georgia to Colorado after Georgia implemented election-fraud preventions in their voting laws, including requiring an ID to vote by mail and banning campaigns or political interest groups to sway those waiting in line to vote by providing refreshments. Pressure mounted from leftist activists and the media for the upcoming All-Star Game to be removed from the state in protest by smearing the law as racist and spreading lies about its content.
Vincent first attacked the efficacy of Manfred’s boycott. He made no changes to the Atlanta Braves’ schedule, which would have further hurt the state and proved his dedication to his political stance. Vincent notes such a move would require consent from the players union and the team’s owner, neither of which would favor limiting the number of home games.
While moving the All-Star Game will be a major revenue loss for Georgia, it was a relatively low-risk move based more on political expediency than the need for “dramatic intervention.” Vincent notes the move will hurt stadium workers and local businesses in Atlanta, not the far more powerful and protected politicians, players, or the MLB.
He then turns his attack towards the tactical error of hypocrisy of baseball’s selective outrage, taken straight from the angry but inconsistent woke mob. Georgia’s new voting law has put them in national attention, but their policies are no more restrictive than Colorado’s, the game’s new home. In fact, Colorado also requires a photo ID to vote, and only allows absentee ballots for 15 days, compared to Georgia’s 17.
Further, banning games in Atlanta while maintaining a close relationship with China implies MLB is more comfortable with China’s rampant human rights atrocities than election fraud prevention. By following the crowd’s passions rather than examining the decision thoughtfully, Manfred now must face these contradictions.
Vincent closes with a reminder of baseball’s apolitical and unifying role in America. He decries Manfred using the sport in the service of one political ideology, as “Baseball must always stand above politics and its dark elements of corruption, greed and sordid selfishness.”
This all-American sport has the capacity to bring the country together and represent the best we have to offer. Vincent wrote, “the American people view baseball as a public trust. They want the game to stand for the best and noblest of our national virtues.” Decisions like Manfred’s erode the luster, turning the National Pastime into just another tool wielded in the culture war.