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David Harsanyi / April 9, 2021

Moving the MLB All-Star Game to Denver Makes Zero Sense

Rob Manfred moved the game because he is concerned about Rob Manfred.

Major League Baseball is moving its 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta, Georgia, to Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. This, says ESPN, is “in response to a new Georgia law that has civil rights groups concerned about its potential to restrict voting access for people of color.”

Or, more likely, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moved the game because he is concerned about Rob Manfred.

Cobb County estimates that losing the game will cost the region more than $100 million. Atlanta, a city with a 51 percent black population — the largest Black-majority metro area in the nation — will lose most of all. They’ll live, but it’s certainly a peculiar way for professional baseball to show solidarity with the African American community.

Denver’s Black population, on the other hand, is somewhere around 9%. You want to see a segregated city, come visit Denver. That might be something Manfred, who runs a league with one Black majority owner, could ponder as his limo drives by the blinding whiteness of neighborhoods like “Stapleton” — officially changed to the anodyne “Central Park” less than a year ago — on his way from Denver International to downtown.

Another funny way of showing your concern for alleged “voting restrictions” is by moving the All-Star Game to a state that in many ways has voting laws at least as stringent as Georgia’s. To vote in Colorado, a person also needs photo identification, just as they do at the will-call window at Coors Field. Like Colorado, Georgia allows voters without ID to use the last four digits of their Social Security number, a bank statement or utility bill, a paycheck, or any other government document with their name and address. Though ID requirements are the provision Democrats hate most, they are broadly popular among voters, which is why they are compelled to use hyperbole and disinformation when talking about the rest of these laws.

Colorado also requires signature verification for mail-in ballots. Over 10,000 voters are rejected every election because of bad signatures. This is the kind of shameful disenfranchisement that Manfred now supports.

You might recall Joe Biden and other Democrats ginning up anger by falsely claiming that parched voters would be denied a mere glass of water under this new law, though the restriction is aimed more at specifically curtailing what campaigns can hand out. It’s hardly unique in the nation. Colorado, like 37 other states including Delaware and now Georgia, also prevents campaign workers from handing out water or food or paraphernalia to voters near a polling place. Though, to be fair, on this front, perhaps none have as restrictive a policy as New York, the home of Major League Baseball headquarters.

Georgia, like Colorado, also has no-excuse absentee voting. But Georgia’s is more expansive, with a minimum of 17 days of early voting — and a provision allowing counties to request two additional Sunday voting days can bring the total to 19 days. Colorado has 15, which, using the quickly changing standards, basically makes it a state of Bull Connors.

Some will correctly point out that Colorado, which was moving to an all-mail election before COVID-19, automatically mails ballots to every “active” voter — something most states hadn’t even contemplated before last year, and then only on an emergency basis. As a former Colorado resident, I can tell you, it is not uncommon for people to get the ballots of former residents, of grown kids long gone, or of dead relatives in their mailbox. It’s a mess. Yet, whatever your opinion is on that policy, if failing to automatically provide every resident a mail-in ballot, whether they ask for one or not, is now considered “Jim Crow on steroids,” MLB is going to have an impossible time rationalizing having any event in any state. Or at least, any state that takes its elections seriously.

Now, of course, I don’t accept the notion that preserving some minimal integrity in elections is “suppression.” Apparently, Georgia voters don’t either, as a new Morning Consult poll shows only 36% opposition to the new law. Can you imagine what those polls would look like if most of the media weren’t blatantly lying about the bill 24-7? But Manfred obviously doesn’t care about the lies. He doesn’t care about the fans. He doesn’t care to know anything about the law. He doesn’t care about the Black community. If he did, he wouldn’t have moved the game. Rob Manfred, like so many others who wilt at the first sign of left-wing hysterics, is there to protect himself.

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