Over the weekend Drew noted that Adrian Gonzalez said that he would not attend next year’s All-Star Game if selected due to the Arizona’s S.B. 1070 immigration law. Gonzalez is not the only player speaking out.
The Padres’ Yorvit
Torrealba told the San Diego Union-Tribune “Why do I want to go play in a place where
every time I go to a restaurant and they don’t understand what I’m
trying to order, they’re going to ask me for ID first? That’s bull. I
come from a crazy country. Now Arizona seems a little bit more crazy.”
Mets catcher Rod Barajas told The New York Times, “If
they happen to pull someone over who looks like they are of Latin
descent, even if they are a U.S. citizen, that is the first question
that is going to be asked. But if a blond-haired, blue-eyed Canadian
gets pulled over, do you think they are going to ask for their papers?
You can expect more players to weigh in on this. If nothing changes (i.e. if the Major League Baseball remains silent) the logical conclusion of all of this is (a) a wildcat strike of the All-Star Game by Latino players and those who sympathize with their position; and (b) a presumed backlash by other players who either support the law or who don’t feel it appropriate for baseball to wade into the political arena like this. In other words: ugliness.
As I said the other day, the only way to head this off is for Bud Selig to show some leadership on the matter. He need not come out in sharp opposition to S.B. 1070, and he need not make any decisions regarding the fate of the 2011 All-Star Game at this time, but it seems essential to me that he publicly acknowledge the feelings of the ballplayers, acknowledge the controversy and offer something approaching an official position for baseball.
If he does that — even with one of his patented “we’ll wait and see how it all plays out” statements which, in this case, may be the best bet — at least the players and the public will know that baseball is paying attention and may dial down the rhetoric for a bit. If he doesn’t, a good many of those same people are going to think that Bud doesn’t care, and it’s going to draw baseball further into the firestorm than it already is.
Yeah, that’s a political calculation, not a business one, but in this case the business of baseball and politics are on a collision course, so that stuff matters.