Despite Latino ballplayers’ threats to boycott the 2011 All-Star Game, the two dozen protestors outside of Commissioner Bud Selig’s office in Milwaukee, and a demonstration at last night’s All-Star Game, Selig still shows no sign that he plans to move the 2011 game out of Arizona.
Selig said Tuesday, as reported in an AP article, “We’ll do things when baseball can influence decisions… This situation will be solved in the political process at the appropriate time.”
Still, organizers of yesterday’s protest at Angel Stadium took Selig’s response as a positive step. Selig was once “trying to ignore us, make us go away,” said Roberto Lovato, organizer for the Move the Game campaign and a consultant for ColorLines’ publisher, the Applied Research Center. “He’s feeling the pressure now … speaking directly to the issue he didn’t want to before.”
John Morales, president and organizer of the Boycott Arizona Los Angeles Committee, warned that if SB 1070 goes into effect and the MLB nonetheless keeps the game in Arizona, “People are definitely not going to forget that Selig didn’t do anything about it.”
The Justice Department and a coalition of advocates have filed separate lawsuits against the law, which the state is set to begin enforcing July 29. It remains unclear whether a judge will block the law while the suits make their way through the courts.
Although, Selig does not believe baseball can affect change, Morales argues sports and politics most certainly do mix. In 1993, Arizona lost the Super Bowl, and an estimated $350 million, when voters failed to approve a ballot initiative that would have created a Martin Luther King holiday. “That is the model we are trying to follow,” said Morales.
Other sport association boycotts come to mind, like when FIFA banned South Africa from competition during apartheid. Or more recently, when the Mexican World Boxing Council refused to schedule mexican fighters for bouts in Arizona this May.
“We want Bud Selig to get on the right side of history by taking the game out of Arizona,” said Lovato.
Photo and Video: Monica Novoa