We Won’t Play in Arizona, Say Latino Baseball All Stars

The AP reports on a growing list of players who've said they'll skip next year's All Star Game if it remains in the Grand Canyon State.

By Naima Ramos-Chapman Jul 13, 2010

"If the game is in Arizona, I will totally boycott," says Milwaukee Brewers’ All-Star pitcher Yovani Gallardo. And he’s not alone. The list of Latino Major League Baseball players who have said they will refuse to participate in the 2011 All-Star Game if it is played in Phoenix, Arizona, is steadily lengthening, according to an AP article.

On Monday, protestors amassed a block away from the MLB’s hotel for tonight’s All-Star Game. They claimed to have over 100,000 signed petitions asking Commissioner Bud Selig to relocate next year’s game to a more brown-friendly state.

"We just want to make our voices heard and make sure that Major League Baseball knows it can’t support racist laws like that," said organizer Ernesto Guerrero of the Service Employees International Union, referring to the anti-immigrant SB 1070, which local cops are set to begin enforcing on July 29. "We’re asking that they move the game out of Arizona."

Alto Arizona! is urging protestor’s on the West Coast to rally at tonight’s All-Star Game in Anaheim, California.

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Valverde called the law "the stupidest thing you can ever have." Kansas City Royals reliever Joakim Soria said, "I’d have to support my people." And Toronto outfielder Jose Bautista said, "Hopefully, there are some changes in the law before then. We have to back up our Latin communities."

The union that represents most MLB players has already condemned the law and has demanded it be repealed.

Although Selig has not directly addressed the issue (when asked he evaded questions and instead cited baseball’s record in minority hiring), some high-ranking baseball officials, as reported in the Arizona Republic, have said they would be "shocked" if Selig removed the game from Arizona.

Last month, when the new recruits for MLB teams headed to Arizona for the Arizona Rookie League, some teams issued photo ID cards and contact information for a representative from the team for the police to contact in case Latino players were stopped.

The 2011 game is scheduled for July 12 at Chase Field and would be Arizona’s first All-Star Game.

MALDEF, the ACLU, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, the NAACP and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center filed a lawsuit challenging the law in May. Justice Department filed its lawsuit against SB 1070 last week.

Photo: Creative Commons/dbking