Question of the day: What should Major League Baseball do about the 2011 All-Star Game in Arizona? [Updated]
Check back throughout the day as reporters from the Tribune Co. weigh in on the question as it relates to Arizona's new illegal immigrant law. And feel free to leave your opinion as well.
Bill Kline, The Morning Call
Let’s get this straight. The people of Arizona elect their legislators and their governor and they in turn establish a law -- for Arizona only -- that enforces something that already is illegal. And now others across this nation are calling for Major League Baseball to big-foot the people of Arizona by pulling the 2011 All-Star Game out of Phoenix.
What’s next? Should baseball pull the Twins out of Minnesota because the Mall of America emits too much carbon dioxide? Should Milwaukee lose the Brewers because beer is the leading cause of acts of idiocy across college campuses?
Let the courts decide the constitutionality of Arizona’s new law. If the law holds up, then baseball has no grounds for a protest. If the law is struck down, there is no need to protest.
Meanwhile, play ball. Not politics.
[Updated, 11:08 a.m.:
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
They say timing is everything. That’s the case with calls for MLB to move the 2011 All-Star Game from Arizona because of that state’s controversial immigration law.
On the one hand, bad timing has forced the issue on MLB. But the bigger picture is that MLB has made so many progressive moves under the leadership of Bud Selig that it can weather any criticism on its lack of a knee-jerk reaction. The most recent Racial and Gender Report Card on MLB by Dr. Richard Lapchick of the University of Central Florida praised MLB’s hiring practices and diversity initiatives, including the Civil Rights Game, Jackie Robinson Day and Roberto Clemente Day.
The players union joined the chorus criticizing the Arizona law, speaking up largely to represent its large population of Latino players, but will the reality justify the initial alarm?
Arizona has enough problems without MLB piling on. MLB has built a track record to defend what it is doing about those calls – nothing.]
[Updated, 2:30 p.m.:
Juan Rodriguez, South Florida Sun Sentinel
What Major League Baseball shouldn’t do is take away the game from the Diamondbacks and the Phoenix area. The club played no role in that misguided legislation passing. Why deny the Diamondbacks or the segment of baseball fans in the area who oppose it access to one of the sport’s marquee events?
Some of the same people this law impacts make their living at Chase Field. How does stripping them of two additional days’ wages help?
MLB has a western office in Arizona. If it really wants to make a statement, threaten to relocate that base elsewhere. The Commissioner’s Office should give its full support to any selected players who wish to boycott the game.
Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times
There really are no good options left for Commissioner Bud Selig when it comes to Arizona and the 2011 All-Star Game. If he moves the game, he will been seen as having caved to activists and pressure groups. But if he comes out in support of leaving the game in Arizona, he runs the risk of boycotts by fans and players. And if he makes no statement at all, he will look unprincipled and indecisive.
The NFL set an important precedent when it pulled the 1993 Super Bowl from Tempe after the state declined to recognize the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. And when Selig remained silent while the baseball players union issued a strong statement last week calling on Arizona to repeal or modify its new law, it increased the pressure on the commissioner.
Clearly Selig would like to wait, hoping the Arizona law will be struck down in court, taking any decision out of his hands. But time isn’t on his side. Teams are generally given two years to prepare to host an All-Star Game, and the 2011 exhibition is just 14 months away.
But even if there are no good choices, there is an obvious one: Selig must move the game. Standing pat runs the risk of angering his players, the union and an international fan base that Selig, more than any commissioner in any U.S. sport, has done a marvelous job cultivating. That’s a legacy that’s worth saving.]