The protests against Arizona hosting the 2011 All-Star Game continue (although much more quietly this week), but the team is not at all worried:
“I’ve had absolutely no indication that we’d lose the game. In fact, I’m confident that it will stay here. I think it’s a difficult
precedent for any league to set, making decisions based upon
controversial state bills.”
That’s Dbacks’ CEO Derrick Hall, who makes a point I generally agree with, but who is seemingly forgetting that the NFL set exactly that precedent with the Super Bowl in 1993.
And when I say I agree with his point, I’m not saying that the game shouldn’t be pulled (I’m kind of agnostic on that at present) or that baseball should make some sort of statement on the immigration law. I’m simply agreeing with the notion that, yeah, it’s pretty hard for a league to pull a marquee event like an All-Star Game just like that.
It’s a politics thing. No, not immigration politics, but internal baseball politics. The horse-trading, lobbying, interest-balancing and boot-licking (along with any number of other “ings”) that goes into granting a city an All-Star Game is of a scope so great that backtracking on one of those decisions creates a ripple effect.
If you pull the game from Arizona in 2011, you probably have to promise another one back to them once the law is changed or the heat dies down or something. That runs into the other teams who are already scheduled or are lobbying to be scheduled in the future. And then there’s the question of where to play next year, which kicks off a whole new, more urgent round of all of that stuff.
Baseball doesn’t want any part of that. For that reason, I seriously doubt that they’ll move the 2011 All-Star Game absent some major, major event like civil unrest on the streets of Phoenix or a MLBPA-sanctioned boycott of the game. Riding out extrernal heat is much easier for them as an organization than creating new internal heat.