Former Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent on Tuesday criticized the league’s current commissioner, Robert Manfred, for moving the All-Star game out of Atlanta, Georgia, in protest of election reforms enacted by the Peach State’s governor and legislature.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Vincent argued that Manfred likely made the decision to boycott Atlanta without first examining the substance of the election reforms. Vincent also lamented that the sport being used as a weapon in a political and cultural war.
“Major League Baseball can’t become a weapon in the culture wars, a hostage for one political party or ideology. It can’t be only for the rich or the poor, nor can it only be for one race, as it was until 1947. Baseball must always stand above politics and its dark elements of corruption, greed, and sordid selfishness. It can’t go wrong by standing for national greatness,” Vincent wrote.
Despite the heated rhetoric from Democrats saying that Georgia’s new law limits access to voting, an examination of the 98-page measure suggests it would have only a minor impact on voting convenience. For example, the law expanded early voting to add an additional Saturday and extend the hours on which some polls can open. The law cuts both ways on other measures. While ramping up the security of the ballot drop boxes, the law limited their number and when they could be accessed.
Vincent argued that Manfred’s failure to address the substance of the law before triggering the boycott now places the MLB commissioner in the “awkward position” of having to defend voting laws in Denver, Colorado, the new site for the All-Star game. He also pointed out that the only people who stand to lose out financially are Atlanta locals.
“The midsummer All-Star Game is an exhibition that benefits only the city where it’s played. It was reported Tuesday morning that Denver will be the new host. The players will get paid no matter where the game takes place. MLB will get the same television revenue. The only people hurt by Mr. Manfred’s decision will be Atlanta’s stadium workers and local vendors,” Vincent wrote.
The former MLB commissioner also noted the league’s financial involvement with China, a country ruled by the genocidal Chinese Communist Party (CCP). According to Chinese media, the MLB recently extended its deal with Tencent, a Chinese tech giant with close ties to the CCP.
Under President Donald Trump, the United States declared the CCP’s abuses against the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang a genocide and sanctioned CCP officials over their persecution of Falun Gong, a traditional spiritual practice based on the tenets of truth, compassion and tolerance.
“What is the basis for acting so forcefully against Georgia? If Georgia is racist, how can baseball talk of doing business with China?” Vincent challenged.