Major League Baseball has stripped Atlanta’s Truist Park of hosting rights to this year’s All-Star Game amid new voting restrictions in the state of Georgia, with Denver’s Coors Field reportedly being lined up as a replacement venue.
Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, had been due to host the game on July 13 but MLB has decided to relocate the event following discussions with clubs, former and current players, the Players Association and The Players Alliance, among others.
The decision has been taken following the introduction of a number of changes to voting laws in Georgia that have attracted criticism. The new law, signed by Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp on March 25, includes restrictions on mail voting and grants the state greater legislative control over the running of elections.
The law has been criticised by civil rights groups, who have claimed that the restrictions will particularly affect people of colour. The chief executives of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola have also hit out at the law.
In a statement issued last week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said: “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. 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.”
Following the decision, Governor Kemp said that MLB had “caved to fear and lies from liberal activists”, adding that he “will not be backing down from this fight”.
According to ESPN, MLB plans on relocating the All-Star Game to Coors Field (pictured), home of the Colorado Rockies. The decision is set to be confirmed later today (Tuesday).
Coors Field has hosted the All-Star Game once before, in 1998.
Elsewhere in MLB, a sellout crowd of 38,238 attended the Texas Rangers’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Field yesterday. The Rangers are the only MLB team to have opened their stadium with no restrictions to start the season after Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that all businesses in the state can operate at full capacity.
The decision to open Globe Life Field at full capacity drew criticism from US President Joe Biden ahead of the game but fans packed the stands as the Rangers fell to a 6-2 defeat against the Blue Jays.
Globe Life Field opened last year and the stadium was selected to host MLB’s post-season National League Championship Series and World Series, with a limited number of fans permitted for these games. Yesterday marked the stadium’s first game with a full crowd.