Tuesday, April 6, 2021

On the Shoulders of Giants

Following the 1919 gambling scandal involving the Chicago White Sox, the organization of major league baseball clubs gave its office of the commissioner extreme power to act in "the best interests of baseball." At times the men occupying that office have used this near-dictatorial authority wisely, and at other times less wisely.

We have the first commissioner, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, allowing clubs to collude to prevent African-American players from appearing on major league rosters. Ford Frick, without ever using an actual asterisk, did everything else to slight Roger Maris's 61 home runs in a 162-game season compared with Babe Ruth's 60 homers in a 154-game season. Bud Selig allowed a tie in the All-Star game.

And now Rob Manfred has moved the All-Star game and the site of the Major League Baseball draft from Atlanta as a protest against a new Georgia election law. Detractors, including President Joe Biden, have said the law is designed to suppress voting, especially among minorities. The Washington Post's fact-checker gave the President its highest possible rating for saying something inaccurate, four Pinocchios. Even opponents of the law, like political activist and 2018 Georgia gubernatorial loser Stacey Abrams, didn't want companies and organizations to boycott Georgia over it because they believed job losses would cause more harm to the people on whose behalf they said they were advocating.

According to ESPN stories quoted by Hot Air columnist Ed Morrissey, Manfred will set the game in Colorado at Coors Field; home of the Colorado Rockies. Morrissey lists the many folks who took a look at Colorado's election laws and found them either similar to or more restrictive than the law Georgia just passed. To be fair, Colorado's law affects far fewer African-American persons than does Georgia's. As Morrissey notes census data shows Georgia to be 31% African-American while Colorado is 4% African-American in population.

The old saying is that we should never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence. So I would without question reject the charge that Manfred has some vendetta against Atlanta or Georgia. But since he is in a position where he can make some significantly unilateral decisions he's all the more likely to expose whichever attribute he has. And considering that his last big idea was to start extra innings in tie games with a runner already on second we can perhaps sense which one he displayed here.

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