Georgia’s Election Integrity Act of 2021 does not read as though written by Lester Maddox, Alexander Stephens, Herman Talmadge, or any other past member of the Georgia Democratic Party.
“The drop box location shall have adequate lighting and be under constant surveillance by an election official or his or her designee, law enforcement official, or licensed security guard,” one allegedly controversial passage reads. “No board of registrars shall take or accept any funding, grants, or gifts from any source other than from the governing authority of the county, the State of Georgia, or the federal government,” explains another. Yet another instructs absentee voters to present “the number of his or her Georgia driver’s license or identification card.”
Saying this makes “Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle” sounds Ku Klux Krazy to anyone who read, or even perused, the 98-page law.
Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, surely did neither before moving the All-Star Game from Truist Park in Cobb County, Georgia, to Denver’s Coors Field (whose namesake ironically faced massive boycotts from the intolerant Left during the 1970s).
One surmises that Fay Vincent, the predecessor of Manfred’s predecessor, did read the document. “The situation calls to mind the 2006 Duke lacrosse case,” the former commissioner writes of baseball’s latest E6, “when many erred — like Mr. Manfred has here — by leaping to a conclusion based on assumptions rather than carefully considered facts.”
Before baseball corrupted its purpose from showcasing athletic competition to performing salaams to wokeness, it corrupted its commissioner’s office.
The coup d’etat that replaced Fay Vincent with Bud Selig as commissioner of Major League Baseball reverse-George Bailey’d the fate of America’s pastime. It seems unlikely that the man who outraged his bosses (the owners) by ending their 1990 lockout without granting them the concessions that they demanded would have allowed anything so monstrous as the 1994 strike that killed a season and permanently harmed the game. The idea of Vincent, who lost his job partly because he sought to kick Steve Howe out of the game for drug use (Howe later died rolling over his truck under the influence of methamphetamine), looking the other way at performance-enhancing drugs as Selig did for so many years to the discredit of the record books. And as we discover from his recent Wall Street Journal piece, Vincent puts the national pastime over Georgia politics.
“Major League Baseball can’t become a weapon in the culture wars, a hostage for one political party or ideology,” he writes. “It can’t be only for the rich or the poor, nor can it only be for one race, as it was until 1947. Baseball must always stand above politics and its dark elements of corruption, greed and sordid selfishness. It can’t go wrong by standing for national greatness.”
Commissioners Fay Vincent (chairman of Columbia Pictures), Bart Giamatti (president of Yale), and Peter Ueberroth (chairman of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee) could stand up for the interests of the game over the interests of the owners because they came to their positions from outside of baseball. Bud Selig, who owned the Milwaukee Brewers, and Rob Manfred, his longtime lieutenant, failed to see conflicts between baseball and baseball owners because they arrived at their positions as creatures spawned from the owners.
This damaged, and continues to damage, baseball. Whereas the game ranked as America’s favorite sport through most of the 20th century, it now sits behind football and basketball with an anemic 9 percent of Americans preferring baseball, according to Gallup. Kids, who used to trade baseball cards (now creepy adults collect them) and tune in to The Baseball Bunch and This Week in Baseball on Saturdays, do not play in great numbers let alone watch games that finish past their bedtimes. What the owners believe helps them — not just in corporate wokeness but in so much else — hurts the game.
A similar phenomenon plagues the Democratic Party, which on the heels of winning two Senate seats and the presidential electoral votes from Georgia dooms itself to redden a state that appeared ready to if not revert to its former blue self at least become purple.
“He was not dictating what Major League Baseball should do,” backtracked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki regarding her boss’s comments that helped pressure MLB. “That was their decision, they made their decision and he certainly supports that.”
USA Today noted how Psaki’s comments “deviated somewhat” from the president’s earlier remarks.
“I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly,” Biden said of a potential boycott of the Georgia All-Star Game to ESPN. “I would strongly support them doing that.”
Whether in a direct or in a will-no-one-rid-me-of-this-meddlesome-priest way, the president influenced Major League Baseball to punish one of the swing states that rewarded him with his office. And both the president and the commissioner, as a result of harming Georgia, harm themselves.
The boycotted vote. And the people on their side watch baseball. At least they used to.