I sort of feel bad for MLB who got caught between a rock and a hard place....
I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I kind of feel sorry for the overlords of Major League Baseball right now.
Without wading deeply into the political issue that caused the problem--I will just say their All-Star issue was a "no-win" situation that was going to cause them a ton of misery no matter what they decided to do.
If you follow sports, you know what triggered the issue--Georgia's new voting law. Again, I'm not going to wade into the politics of it. If you want to know more about why this is so polarizing, the law is available online for you to read at your own leisure. It's complicated. Interpret it as you will.
Last week, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred put his name to a statement stating the league decided to pull the game from the Atlanta Braves. The league has since relocated their "Midsummer Classic" to Denver, Colorado. The decision to move for MLB was a statement regarding the potential implications of some portions of the new law plain and simple.
The decision drew and continues to draw some sharp, even biting criticism from one side of the political aisle and respect/applause from the other.
I'll go ahead and say it now. Had they (MLB) not done anything, the roles would be reversed and they'd still be getting heat from one side of the aisle. The league would also be battling with its players which would have been a much bigger issue for them.
Imagine being in MLB's shoes, getting prepared for one of your showcase events only to have the biggest names in the game decide to boycott and not play or participate? Think about the mess if they had to postpone the game in July because players refused to show up? How messy would that be? How bad would the publicity be surrounding that?
Would the players get some of the grief the league currently is? Yeah, to some extent they would; but would it be as broad as the criticism currently is? Debatable.
The "good feelings" between the MLB Players Association and the league office is tenuous at best. Their "labor agreement" expires at the end of 2021 and the new agreement is likely to be um, a nasty battle.
You want to know how petty this agreement is? The National League played 2020 with the DH in play. Almost everyone involved with the game wanted it to become permanent for 2021. Except the owners.
The reason: they wanted concessions from the MLBPA ahead of the labor agreement for it. Those concessions would have added a round of playoff games that the players would not have gotten paid for, but the owners would have pocketed millions.
So despite the DH being wanted by players and coaches--we don't have one this season.
Listen, I'm no fan of Major League Baseball management. By and large the league does not appear to understand why it has been hemorrhaging fans over the past decade or two. They refuse to modernize so many of their policies because, well, I don't know why.
Yes, I'm royally pissed I can't watch my hometeam Atlanta Braves on TV this season because MLB's regional partner televises the games and they refuse to deal with streaming live television. AND....MLB refuses to waive their own ridiculously stupid "Blackout" rule that penalizes fans in team cities by not allowing them to watch the broadcast unless they can access said regional partner.
But that's another issue.
I know full well this whole issue of a sport taking a political position is dicey and no matter which side you are on, there is no way to win the argument. I'm painfully aware that when it comes to said political debates, in the current era in which we live---we don't listen to or respect the opinions of others who disagree with you.
As someone who tries really hard to respect the beliefs of other people whether I agree with them or not, this is a difficult era for me to live in.
I personally don't agree with those who say "Stick to Sports". This is why: For generations we wanted to idolize athletes and for kids to look at those athletes as role models. Part of being a role model is speaking up for the issues and life items you feel strongly about. For believing in something.
For all of you who get riled up when athletes/teams/sports take a stance, yeah, sorry, that's not how life works anymore. You don't have to agree with the stance and I'm pretty sure said athletes/teams/sports are ok with that. I'd be willing to bet they are willing to respect your decision to disagree and not hold it against you.
The problem is you are holding it against them.....
Think about it.