Bud Selig would probably prefer to fly obliviously above the fray, but next year's All-Star Game at Chase Field has been thrust into the controversy over Arizona's new SB 1070 immigration law.
Because of the racial profiling aspects of the law, the Daily Kos has called for Selig to pull the Midsummer Classic and all of its associated revenue from the state.
As the state's highest-profile event in the next few years, baseball's All-Star Game was a natural vehicle to be borrowed by activists. Back in the early '90s, the NFL stood behind its African-American athletes and pulled the Super Bowl from Arizona when the state was holding out on observing Martin Luther King Day.
Salon suggests the NFL's move actually solidified the anti-MLK movement, but I don't think that should prevent baseball from taking a stance against SB 1070 here. The law has already been passed into law and it could directly affect the roughly 30 percent of Hispanics who make up baseball rosters, and Selig and the player's union have a responsibility to provide working conditions that are free of harassment. Can you imagine a spring training where players are being pulled over on their way to the ballpark and demanded that they produce evidence they're in the country legally?
On the other hand, I can see the gist of Brad Ziegler's point. Moving the All-Star Game wouldn't hurt the lawmakers as much as it would the common people who are trying to survive in an already-depressed economy. They're counting on all those dollars coming in from the revenue generated by hotel rooms, rental cars, restaurant meals, etc.
If you're even considering that the MLB should take action, I think it comes down to weighing whether that pressure against the lawmakers (who were elected by those common folk in the first place) would actually make a difference in Arizona deciding to repeal it.
Even if he doesn't make a threat to move the All-Star Game right off the bat, I think the commissioner should issue a formal denunciation of it. If Karl Rove can do it, so can he.
What do you think?