May 27, 2019

Write-In Campaign Adds Pressure on Selig?

May 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Latino advocacy organization Presente.org is ramping up the pressure on Bud Selig with a write-in campaign to take the All-Star Game out of Phoenix in response to the Arizona Hispanic profiling bill.  After huge protest marches several weeks ago, the write in campaign provides a time-honored, American tradition to keep the pressure on Commissioner Selig.  I urge you to visit the site and consider how important fan support for Latino players is in recognition of their important contribution to the American pastime.

Josh Dietch’s article about the Arizona legislation provides much of the background concerning the racial profiling bill passed in April.  The bill is a slap in the face of one of the largest ethnic groups in the United States, one that has deep roots in baseball.  Like many issues immigration has become polarized beyond reasonable discussion for many people, but baseball fans owe it to the game to think it through.

Baseball rarely involves itself in political controversy of any kind and it is certain that Selig would like to avoid this one.  Ducking it however, is not an option.

Latino attendance in many major league cities is a huge factor.  The Florida Marlins have the largest Hispanic fan base with an estimated 40 percent of all fans coming from the Latino community in South Florida.  Other cities  estimate their Latin fan base reaching at least fifteen percent including such large markets as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Fans drive the game and if the players press their case as the summer wears on, pressure will grow on Selig to make a statement and work something out. The players union–MLBPA–has issued a strong statement against the legislation.

As Josh points out, there is ample precedent for this effort.  “In 1993, the NFL fought Arizona’s statewide refusal to acknowledge Martin Luther King Day as a holiday.  It pulled the Super Bowl out from under Arizona and moved it to the Rose Bowl.”

Baseball lost the African American population to a large degree after the 1960’s. Quota systems were reputed to limit the number of black players on a given team, and young athletes and fans flocked to professional football and basketball where they were welcomed with regard only to talent.

Baseball cannot afford to lose the Latino population and Selig cannot afford to duck the issue.  He needs to make a statement condemning the Arizona profiling statute at the very least.  Even better would be to move the All-Star Game to a Latino-friendly city if at all possible.  There is no reason for silence.

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