Rob Manfred, major league baseball commissioner, announced this “The best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is to relocate this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.” away from Atlanta. Apparently Georgia’s new electoral law – the net effect of which the Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog found “It was expanding, not limiting, options for most Georgians” – was such a violation of baseball values that the exhibition game could not be played there.
But apparently holding an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team in Havana in 2016 was not against the values of baseball. In an interview with ESPN during that game, Manfred was delighted with how Cuba is doing “A place where we want to play regularly” and the “At least” He wants to play regular season games in Havana and eventually have an MLB team on the communist island. “Baseball could be important to the economy and development here in Cuba.” he said.
It didn’t seem to bother Manfred that Cuba has long been home to one of the most brutal and repressive dictatorships in the world. He pulled MLB out of Georgia because he said that baseball “Rejects restrictions on the ballot box.” Well, according to the State Department’s human rights report released last month, “Cuba remains a one-party system in which the Communist Party is the only legal political party” Vote is “Neither free nor fair nor competitive” and “Special forces of the [Ministry of Interior’s] The state security department is responsible for monitoring, infiltrating, and suppressing independent political activity. “ The regime is committed “Extrajudicial murders by the government; forced disappearance of the government; Torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of political dissidents, detainees and detainees by security forces; . . . [and] arbitrary arrests and detentions. “
Just two days before the 2016 Havana game, hundreds of regime thugs attacked and arrested peaceful protesters, known as the Ladies in White, as they were leaving a Palm Sunday mass. Ra√∫l Castro’s secret police pounced on the women as they sang “Freedom! Freedom!” and “Half hauled, half carried to serviceable buses” The post reported. When the women were arrested, an organized crowd threw insults for the regime and sang “This is Fidel’s street!” Indeed, in the first two weeks of March leading up to the Game, the Cuban regime carried out 526 political incarcerations. But Manfred didn’t cancel the game in protest. Apparently, playing baseball in the Castro family’s tropical gulag is a perfect match for baseball “Values as a sport.”
What else is in line with the values of baseball? In the same week that MLB decided to leave Georgia, the league also announced a deal with Tencent, the Communist Party-affiliated Chinese telecommunications company, to host MLB All-Star Games, as well as spring training, regular season and playoff games Broadcast in Asia through 2023 In 2019, Tencent blocked streaming of all NBA games with the Houston Rockets after the team’s general manager expressed support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Tencent also owns the WeChat app, which is helping the communist regime build an extensive repository of data on Chinese citizens, which the State Department announced in 2019 “A foundation for technology-enhanced surveillance and social control.” Under Manfred’s leadership, Major League Baseball is poised to go to bed with a regime that brutally suppresses freedom in Hong Kong and commits genocide against Uyghur Muslims – including the use of Uyghur slave labor and the systematic rape and forced sterilization of Uyghur women. however, refuses to play an all-star game in Georgia.
“It’s at the height of hypocrisy” Brian Kemp, Governor of Georgia, R, told me in an interview. “The whole position in China with Major League Baseball. . . but also with MLB and their connections to Cuba. I mean, the average Georgian who really pays no attention to politics is very wondering what he thinks. Why are they punishing us, but they will have a relationship with China where there are no elections or if so, is it already decided who will be the winner? “
Manfred’s decision came from a climax of near-perfect ignorance of Georgian law which actually expands early voting, mandating the first-time use of dropboxes, and expanding the forms of acceptable voter identification to include not just photo ID but an electricity bill , Bank statement, government check, or paycheck, or even the last four digits of the voter’s social security number. These are far less strict rules than some in Major League Baseball that require photo identification to pick up will-call tickets.
But Manfred cannot plead ignorance when it comes to the human rights records of communist China and Cuba. He is quite ready to punish the people of Georgia in a blatant exercise of signaling virtues while doing business with two of the most repressive totalitarian dictatorships on earth.
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