Texas governor protests MLB moving All-Star Game out of Atlanta
▶ Watch Video: Texas governor won’t throw first pitch to protest MLB moving All-Star Game from Atlanta
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Monday that he won’t throw out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ home opening game or participate in Major League Baseball at all after the MLB moved its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in response to a law changing the way people vote in Georgia.
The league announced Friday that it would be moving the 2021 All-Star Game and 2021 draft out of Atlanta after Georgia passed a new law requiring photo ID to vote via absentee ballot, among other things. Republicans, including former President Trump, have decried the move.
“I was looking forward to throwing out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ home opening game until @MLB adopted what has turned out to be a false narrative about Georgia’s election law reforms,” Abbott tweeted Monday afternoon, along with the letter he sent the Rangers. “It is shameful that America’s pastime is being influenced by partisan politics.”
In his letter to Neil Leibman, chief operating officer for the Texas Rangers, the Texas governor says he will “not participate in an event held by MLB, and the state will not seek to host the All-Star Game or any other MLB special events.”
Cobb County, Georgia, estimates MLB’s decision to pull the game from Atlanta will cost the tourism industry in the area about $100 million.
Abbott isn’t the only Republican who has protested MLB’s decision. Mr. Trump went as far as to call for an MLB boycott.
“Baseball is already losing tremendous numbers of fans, and now they leave Atlanta with their All-Star Game because they are afraid of the Radical Left Democrats who do not want voter I.D., which is desperately needed, to have anything to do with our elections,” he said in a statement.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, too, took issue with the MLB’s decision.
“In the middle of a pandemic, Major League Baseball put the wishes of Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden ahead of the economic well-being of hard-working Georgians who were counting on the All-Star Game for a paycheck,” Kemp said in a news conference over the weekend.
Georgia’s new law limits dropbox locations as well as the time voters have to request an absentee ballot. It also outlaws passing out food and water to voters within 150 feet of a polling place or within 25 feet of any voter standing in line.
In Abbott’s state, lawmakers are debating a bill on voter access. Senate Republicans on Thursday cleared a path for new legislation called Senate Bill 7 that would limit extended early voting hours and prohibit drive-thru voting, among other things.