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MLB pulls All-Star Game from Atlanta over voter-restriction laws; does Detroit have a shot?

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New York – Major League Baseball has moved the All-Star game out of Truist Park in Atlanta. This was in response to Georgia passing a new law restricting voting rights last month.

MLB had awarded the game to Atlanta on May 29, 2019, and the game was scheduled for July 13 as part of baseball’s midsummer break, which includes the futures game on July 11 and the home run derby the following night . But Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to postpone the all-star events and the amateur draft, which was due to take place in Atlanta for the first time.

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes ballot box restrictions,” Manfred said.

A new location has not yet been announced, but will be in the coming days, Manfred said.

If you’re wondering, Detroit last hosted an All-Star Game at Comerica Park in 2005, and 50 years ago hosted the 1971 All-Star Game, widely considered to be the greatest gathering of baseball talent in a single place – with 26 future prospects Hall of Famers, including 22 players, as well as ultimately ineligible Pete Rose, who is present at Tiger Stadium.

However, Michigan’s lawmakers are working on Georgia-style voting laws, and some experts actually believe the Michigan proposal is even stricter than what Georgia enacted.

There was no indication that the Tigers or the city of Detroit were involved in ongoing talks with Major League Baseball on Friday.

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 the death of George Floyd 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 voting rights for 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.

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 Celebration,” 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 canceled last year’s All-Star game 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 awarded Philadelphia the All-Star Game in 2026 as part of the celebration of the 250th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

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.

Tony Paul from the News contributed

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Dusty Kennedy