In 2021, the Major League of Baseball challenged decades of conservative conservative rule and moved the All-Star Game 2021 from Altlanta, Ga., to Denver, Colo, Germany. It is still the GOP’s claim that baseball is part of a globalized communist conspiracy — I don’t think this is the case. However, why does the question persist? Why did baseball challenge its own culture?
A decade ago, one way of understanding that was to look back was when the MLB All-Star Game was last publicly pushed. At the time, Arizona was all eyes. The governor of the state, Jan Brewer, signed on April 23, 2010, SB 1070, the bill on papers, please. In its worst form, the law would not only have granted the law enforcement the right to request their immigration papers from anybody, it would have criminalized citizens who know and reported to undocumented persons. It’s been violent. It’s been hideous. And both on and off the field, the sporting world took note.
Phoenix Suns played a playoff game against the Spurs on May 1, an international day of solidarity with San Antonio Suns, wearing shirts reading Los Suns in the National Basketball Association. This game was accompanied by an immigrant rights demonstration on the arena as well as statements by Suns players such as Steve Nash and such as Charles Barkley of political support for all immigrants.
The sparks flew the most in baseball, though. In the late summer and fall of 2010, fans and demonstrators marched at stadiums around the country, demanding that MLB relocate the 2011 All-Star Game out of Arizona. At stadiums, banners were unfurled. Two people rushed onto the field at Nationals Park, carrying a banner that read, “Bud Selig Move All-Star Game No SB 1070,” according to ESPN, while a picket took place outside the stadium’s gates. Even in baseball’s conservative culture, a small number of players spoke out. Given MLB’s reliance on Latin American talent, many expected Selig to cave in and relocate the game. Despite the scrutiny, he refused to do so.
To state the obvious, the year 2021 will be a completely different ballgame. Before a single picket could be announced, before players could meet and formulate their plans, and before the media could challenge anyone in baseball about whether the game should be moved, MLB decided it wasn’t worth the trouble and walked away.
I met with three advocates who campaigned to move the All-Star Game in 2010–11. Here’s what they have to say about the changes.
Enrique Morones, who served as the Vice President of Latino and International Marketing for the San Diego Padres from 1995 to 2001, is the founder and executive director of Gente Unida, a nonprofit dedicated to defending human rights along the border.
Take a look at the relative scarcity of Latino leadership in industries. There are no Latino anchors on the Today show, which I watch. As CNN discusses race, it refers to black and white. Our opinions and experiences are dismissed. BLM has a lot of love from me. However, I can see how there were foreign repercussions when George Floyd was killed by four police officers in Minnesota. There was no public uproar when Anastacio Hernandez was killed by 12 border police officers.” Morones argues that if we understand the Latinx community’s marginalization, we can understand why some social justice movements gain more momentum than others, particularly as corporate America’s bottom-line considerations are one of the driving forces for change. Gustavo Andrade rushed onto the Nationals Park field 11 years ago to protest SB 1070 during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.