Strike out Phoenix
A steady drumbeat is increasing in volume outside Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's door to move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Phoenix. Recent laws passed in Arizona--from banning ethnic studies in the Tucson public schools to mandating that the police demand the papers of "suspicious" immigrants--have mobilized people to take the Boycott Arizona campaign to Selig's door.
In addition to written requests to move the game from the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Congressman Jose Serrano, whose district includes Yankee Stadium, more than 100,000 people have signed a petition asking Selig to make the move.
As Favianna Rodriguez of movethegame.org said to me, "Not only are more than a quarter of the League's players Latino, but so is a large part of the fan base. Now, in Arizona, these players and fans risk being harassed and even arrested on their way to the ballpark just because of how they look or their accent. We will not stand for laws like these, which treat Latinos like second-class citizens, and neither should Bud Selig."
Selig, after weeks of hemming and hawing, came out with an obtuse answer. When asked if the League would move the game, he fumed, "Apparently all the people around and in minority communities think we're doing OK. That's the issue, and that's the answer. I told the clubs today: 'Be proud of what we've done.' They are. We've done very well."
It's not clear what "minority communities" Selig is referring to, but if he believes that statement is going to spare Major League Baseball from becoming ensnared in the immigration debate, he is being naive.
As Move the Game has documented, fifteen players have spoken out against the bill: Jorge Cantu, Augie Ojeda, Michael Young, Frank Francisco, Alexei Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Cesar Izturis, Heath Bell, Rod Barajas, Scott Hairston, Joe Saunders, Bobby Abreu, Yorvit Torrealba, Jose Guillen, and Kyle McClellan.
Here's what Cantu told The Miami Herald: "This hits me in the heart. …