This past Tuesday night, the American and National League All Star players met in Anaheim in the 81st annual mid-summer classic, won by the National league.
Next year’s All Star game is scheduled to be played in Phoenix, Arizona.
One of the major topics at this years All Star game is whether MLB should move the game from Arizona in protest of SB 1070*. There is already serious talk that Hispanic players may boycott the game if it is played in Phoenix. Nearly thirty percent of the players on major league rosters were born outside the US, primarily in South America and the Dominican Republic.
Sports, politics and race relations are headed for a home plate collision.
In 1993, the National Football League moved a scheduled Super Bowl game from Arizona because the State had failed to recognize Martin Luther Kind Day. The voters later changed direction and so honored Dr. King.
MLB is unlikely to follow a similar path. Whereas the NFL is a more dynamic organization, willing to make changes to improve the game, MLB is quite conservative in it’s approach. The Commissioner of MLB, Bub Selig, is not known for being a particularly decisive leader.
Many of the leading stars in baseball are of Hispanic origin. Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, David Ortiz, Adrian Gonzalez are just a few All Stars at this year’s game.
Baseball is just now pulling it’s self out of the swamp that was the “steroid era.” For years, MLB turned a blind eye to performance enhancing drug use, and baseball received a black eye when it turned out that some of the game’s biggest stars were “juiced.”
Approximately sixty five percent of Americans support SB 1070. Would MLB risk alienating that much of the potential fan base to make a political statement? What would be the response of MLB if Hispanic stars were to boycott the All Star Game?
(SB 1070 is the Arizona law that requires Law Enforcement to inquire about the immigration status of an individual if he or she is suspected of being an illegal alien.)
William Stephenson Clark