The 2021 MLB All-Star game will not be played in Atlanta, and the governor of Texas is not happy. Greg Abbott announced Monday afternoon he will not be throwing out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers' home opener due to MLB pulling the All-Star game and draft from Atlanta. The move was made in response to voting laws recently passed in Georgia.
I was looking forward to throwing out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers' home opening game until [MLB] adopted what has turned out to be a false narrative about Georgia's election law reforms," Abbott wrote on Twitter. In an additional statement, Abbott said it's "shameful that America's pastime is not only being influenced by partisan political politics, but also perpetuating false political narratives." He goes on to say that he will "not participate in an event held by MLB, and the State will not seek the All-Star Game or any other MLB special events."
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to pull the game out of Atlanta after talking to individual big leaguers and the Players Alliance, an organization of Black players formed after the death of George Floyd last year, according to ESPN. When the law was passed in Georgia, civil rights groups in the area were concerned about its potential to restrict voting access for people of color.
"Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box," Manfred said in a statement. "In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game's unwavering support."
The Braves were awarded the All-Star game in 2019, two years after opening their new stadium Truist Park (previously known as SunTrust Park). The team was coming off a year where they were one game away from reaching the World Series.
"The Braves organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities and we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion," the Braves said in a statement that goes on to say "business, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision."