Republicans Load Up for Fight With MLB After All-Star Game Moved From Georgia MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred looks on during the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on Nov. 13, 2020 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 06 April 2021 10:19 AM
President Joe Biden's "Jim Crow" rhetoric about Georgia's election reforms was a brushback pitch tossed at the GOP, which is now trying to rally after Major League Baseball moved its All-Star Game from Atlanta to Colorado due to Democrat talking points about the new law.
Some political analysts said MLB's reactionary move in Georgia may actually work out for Republicans in the long run.
"It's good politics," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told The Hill. "This is not the last time the Democrats are going to try to do this, bully corporate America into taking their side."
O'Connell urged Republicans to start running TV ads in Georgia to capitalize on the "unforced error" in moving the All-Star Game because a state duly passed election reforms as the U.S. Congress weighs H.R. 1/S.R. 1 legislation to federalize state elections.
The economic hit on Atlanta in losing the All-Star Game is estimated to be from $65 million to potentially $100 million, potentially costing Democrats the momentum they had gained in Georgia having won two Senate seats in the Jan. 5 runoffs.
While it does deliver economic gains to a reliably blue state in Colorado, Georgia had been trending away from Republicans amid the mass mail-in ballot push that handed the state to President Joe Biden last November, along with the two Senate seats.
"This is an unforced error by Major League Baseball," Tennessee Republican strategist Chip Saltsman told The Hill. "They've forgotten who their base is; they've forgotten who buys a lot of tickets and, quite frankly, they spoke before I think they knew the details, the commissioner did.
"Six months ago, Georgia was a little bluer than usual and this tints it back to red."
Republicans are pouncing on the hypocrisy and irony in all this, including Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, rebuking "what has turned out to be a false narrative about Georgia's election law reforms."
"It is shameful that America's pastime is being influenced by partisan politics," Abbott tweeted, announcing he would not throw out a first pitch at a Texas Rangers opening day game.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., pointed out the hypocrisy of inequitable ticket pricing, leaving poor Americans out of the loop on attending games at New York's Yankee Stadium, one of the country's deepest blue bastions.
"If needing to show an ID to vote is racist, perhaps NY Yankees tickets that average over $100 are discriminatory? Will 'woke' @MLB mandate free tickets to allow equal access?"
Paul added in an ensuing tweet an echo of former President Donald Trump's call to counterprotest cancel culture:
"If @mlb is boycotting states that pass Republican election integrity laws, maybe Republicans should boycott Major League Baseball?"
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., adroitly pointed out MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is a member at Augusta National in Georgia, which once restricted Blacks from being members until 1990.
"I write to ask you whether you intend to maintain your membership at Augusta National Golf Club," Rubio wrote. "As you are well aware, the exclusive members-only club is located in the State of Georgia."
Rubio added the lack of protests of against China's human rights abuses.
"Taking the All-Star game out of Georgia is an easy way to signal virtues without significant financial fallout," he wrote. "But speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party would involve a significant loss of revenue and being closed out of a lucrative market
The All-Star Game move, though, stands to unify people against cancel culture, because it extends beyond politics into mainstream Americana.
"Republicans see this as another one of these cultural flashpoints, a 'whose side are you on?' moment," Kentucky Republican strategist Scott Jennings told The Hill.
"The Republicans largely defined themselves the last few years not really around policy but mostly on jumping on these moments. From that perspective, it makes a lot of sense."
Republican are "righteous on this one," Jennings added.
"The decision that was made by baseball was based on a complete lie. The disinformation around the Georgia law is causing these corporations to make terrible decisions."