As Georgia faced criticism from leftist activists and Democratic leaders, including President Joe Biden, for passing an election integrity bill, the MLB decided in April to pull its mid-summer All-Star Game from the state and move it to Denver.
“I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft,” Manfred said in a statement at the time. “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box.”
That rationale conveniently overlooked the fact that Georgia’s election bill did nothing to hamper anyone’s right or ability to vote, but instead simply better secured the integrity of the voting process.
The MLB is facing a similar situation again now that Georgia’s baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, has made it to the World Series. Atlanta is set to host several of the World Series games later this week.
Asked why the MLB has not pulled these games out of Georgia as well, since the state’s election integrity law is still in place, Manfred admitted his decision to yank the All-Star Game out of Atlanta was an “exception.”
“We always have tried to be apolitical,” Manfred said Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Obviously there was a notable exception this year. I think our desire is to try to avoid another exception to that general rule.”
People familiar with Manfred’s thinking told the outlet his decision to relocate the All-Star Game had nothing to do with the Braves or even Georgia’s voting bill. It was rather a “move to stave off further controversy.”
“Atlanta played great down the stretch, did a tremendous job in the playoffs,” Manfred added. “They earned their right to the World Series, and we’re looking forward to being back in Atlanta.”