Here's the audio from our activist coalition that sent a letter signed by all parties to Bud Selig and Major League Baseball, and we're demanding that they denounce Arizona's SB 1070 and relocate the 2011 All Star Game from Arizona.
A coalition of labor unions, progressive organizations and immigrant advocacy groups issued an open letter today asking Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig to cancel the 2011 All-Star Game in Phoenix, urge teams to move spring training facilities from Arizona and denounce the state's controversial immigration law.
"Major League Baseball has a strong history of supporting minorities and civil rights in America, which began when Jackie Robinson became the first African-American baseball player in 1947," the letter says.
"As you are well aware, over a quarter of all Major League Baseball players are Latino, and almost 40% of your players are people of color. In this moment of crisis, these players - and baseball's millions of Latino and immigrant fans - deserve a loud and clear message that the League finds this law unacceptable. We strongly urge you to relocate the 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix and to pressure teams to pull all winter and spring training games from Arizona while this un-American law is in effect."
The letter notes that the Players Association has already condemned the new law.
Selig didn't comment when asked by Milwaukee's WISN-TV about the calls for MLB to cancel the Phoenix All-Star Game.
"We're a social institution, and I'll rest my case on the fact that baseball has been remarkably socially active over the last 50 years," Selig said.
Signatories include John Amato, the founder and president of CrooksandLiars.com, Markos Moulitsas Zúñiga, founder and publisher of Daily Kos, Julio Pabon of the Bronx-based LatinoSports.com, People for the American Way president Michael Keegan, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, Eliseo Medina, international executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
How do I know it's rocking? The Diamondbacks' CEO says he's not worried about Bud Selig pulling the 2011 All Star Game from Arizona.
Protesters have urged Major League Baseball to move the 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix in the wake of Arizona's controversial new immigration law, but Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall sounds as confident as ever that the game isn't going anywhere.
"I've had absolutely no indication that we'd lose the game," Hall said. "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."
The 2011 All-Star Game sign painted on the left field wall disappeared before this homestand and was replaced by an ad for Dial soap. Hall said he received several e-mails from panicking fans assuming the worst, but he said there's no reason to worry.
"We just sold the deal with Dial during the road trip," Hall said.
Hall said the club plans to put up a new All-Star sign, perhaps hanging one from the rafters behind home plate.
Derick Hall is getting quizzed about the protest and is trying to portray an air of confidence while being forced to explain why a paid ad replaced an All Star Game billboard. And The Nation found out that while team owner Ken Kendricks, a Republican bank-roller, is expressing skepticism about SB 1070, he's slyly holding a fundraiser in Arizona's publicly funded stadium for a man who supports their hateful immigration law.
On May 20th, the Nation has learned, Ken Kendrick is holding a private fundraiser inside his owners box at Chase Field for SB 1070 supporter State Senator Jonathan Paton. The fundraiser will be taking place during the D-backs game against the San Francisco Giants. Paton is attempting to make the leap from the state house to the US Congress, and he is depending upon the deep pockets of Kendrick to make it happen.
Leave aside for a moment the ethical and perhaps legal ramifications that Ken Kendrick is using a stadium built with $250 million in public dollars to raise money for his pet candidates. The fact is that while Kendrick publicly distances himself from the bill, he is using the home of the supposedly "apolitical" Diamondbacks organization as a fund raising center for SB 1070 supporting politicians. As Paton says on his campaign website, "We need to secure the border, and we need to secure it now. That's why I voted for SB 1070, and that's why I urge the governor to sign it."
The Nation continues:
Jonathan Paton trumpets the support he receives from Russell Pearce. This is who Jonathan Paton is. This is who Ken Kendrick is using his publicly-funded stadium to support.
Favianna Rodriguez, co-founder of Presente.org, and leader of the All Star Game boycott campaign MoveTheGame.org said to me, "Latinos and their allies across the country are targeting Major League Baseball to show that laws like SB 1070 will have dire economic consequences. Mr. Kendrick's continued support of the politicians behind SB 1070 will only further inspire that movement."
And their conclusion is exactly like mine, our coalition and millions of Americans: If politics should be left out of sports, then why is it OK for Wall Street-like rich people to be allowed to fund and support draconian laws and politicians that serve no purpose but to make this country less of a free society and to help line their pants with pockets full of gold and expand their political ideology throughout our country.
There is only one conclusion. The Arizona Diamondbacks should continue to be boycotted and protested until Ken Kendrick stops supporting these politicians and using his publicly funded stadium to do so. The All Star game should be moved, and anyone who says that sports and politics don't mix, should first aim that cliche in the direction of the Arizona Diamondbacks owner's box. Keep the protests going. Keep calling to have the All Star game moved. Any other strategy would truly be "misguided."
(Don't forget to Twitter-me-up http://twitter.com/JohnAmato)