Daily Times (Primos, PA)
‘Woke’ baseball strikes out — and cancels itself
The election stakes couldn’t have been higher. Georgia, long a red bastion of conservatism, was on the verge of turning blue for the first time in decades. If it did, the repercussions would be immense.
As the final votes trickled in, the result became clear. The hardfought battle, while close, had produced a clear winner. In keeping with tradition, all that was needed was a concession speech so that a smooth transition could begin. But alas, it was not to be.
The losing candidate, in a bid to stay relevant, refused to concede on the basis of alleged voting irregularities. Even to this day, no concession has been offered.
Sore loser? Yes, but with a caveat. Just because evidence of widespread voting chicanery wasn’t uncovered doesn’t mean it didn’t occur. Therefore, while conceding would have been honorable, it would also be important to fix the “rigged” system.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet your losing candidate: Democrat Stacey Abrams, candidate for governor in 2018.
1) Some will argue that Ms. Abrams’ situation, and that of former President Donald Trump, who also hasn’t conceded, are non-analogous, since Mr. Trump alleged voter fraud, while Ms. Abrams claimed voter suppression. Wrong. They are one and the same. Obviously, there are many types of voting irregularities, but the bottom line is that when votes are “suppressed” - whatever that means then, by definition, that constitutes fraud. Put another way, if a citizen’s legal vote is not counted, then that person has been disenfranchised, and thus, fraud has occurred.
2) The situations aren’t actually comparable for a simple reason: Ms. Abrams lost a close race, but not a nail-biter (losing by 55,000 votes out of 3.9 million), whereas Mr. Trump fell short by just 11,000 (out of 5 million). If fraud occurred, changing the outcome would have been much easier in the race where the margins were razor-thin. Ms.
Abrams is certainly under no obligation to concede, but no one with a straight face can make the argument that her election was stolen, given the relatively large margin separating the candidates.
3) Stacey Abrams is a talented, smart and effective leader, so she should be taken at her word that the system has flaws. Ditto for Mr. Trump’s claims. In that light, given that the goal is protecting the integrity of every Georgian’s vote, regardless of Party, all sides should be applauding the new voting regulations.
Standing opposed seems to jettison the idea of an equaltreatment-for-all, specialtreatment-for-none voting system.
In today’s highly-political environment, even world peace would be fiercely debated. As such, Georgia’s new voting laws are the focus of bitter partisan fights.
Fine. That’s the nature of politics.
But when companies, sports leagues and Hollywood celebrities think it’s their “duty” to step into the fray, it always - always - backfires. Yet it’s a lesson that Major League Baseball still has not comprehended, to its peril.
After the voting laws were enacted, MLB weighed in with what it hoped would be great “fan”fare by self-righteously yanking this year’s All-Star game from Atlanta, hoping it would teach Georgia a lesson. How incredibly stupid.
Here’s a look at why Baseball’s decision is so counterproductive:
1) First things first. Outrage to the new laws is predicated on elements contained in the Election Integrity Act, including:
- Additional restrictions on absentee and mail-in ballots. In many instances, fraud isn’t particularly hard to commit. But given the huge numbers of mail-in ballots, many of which are not securely tracked or verified, the likelihood of increased fraud skyrockets. Therefore, who doesn’t want the integrity of their ballot better protected? Strike one.
- Voter ID requirements. How anyone is opposed to providing identification to vote, when an ID is required in virtually every aspect of society, is incomprehensible. No one is disenfranchised by having to show ID —- absolutely, positively no one. Strike two.
- And of course, the one garnering the headlines: restrictions on non-election workers providing food and drink to voters waiting in line. Like most things, this has been blown way out of proportion, but, truth is, eliminating the possibility of ingratiating voters with gifts while they wait in line is not a bad thing. And yes, some people will vote on that basis. Pathetic, but true.
If we’re being honest, is there a single person in the entire state of Georgia who’ll be disenfranchised, or have their vote “suppressed,” because they cannot accept food? Give us a break - and bring your own water. Strike three, MLB. You’re out.
2) Baseball tried to hit a grand slam but ended up whiffing, since many of the law’s opponents are against the All-Star game boycott, including Stacey Abrams herself. She applauds MLB for its sentiment, but she, along with many other Democrats, is smart enough to know that a disproportionate number of black Georgians will be adversely affected. Restaurants, hotels, and retail stores that are in desperate need of economic injection will now be left out in the cold, as employees watch people in another city reap the significant financial windfall.
It’s a classic example of limousine liberals hurting the very people they’re trying to help - all because they want to feel good about themselves.
3) From a practical perspective, baseball committed an egregious error: not knowing its fans.
First, most opponents of the law claim that Blacks voters will be negatively affected. (Not true, but fine.) So under that rationale, why is MLB getting involved when a paltry eight - yes, just eight - percent of its players are African American? Are there no other issues upon which to focus that would better reflect
the diversity of all its players?
Second, average fans - you know, the ones who fund Major League Baseball, directly and indirectly, in its entirety - are older white males who despise political correctness and the cancel culture being jammed down their throats.
Third, while not all MLB fans are Trump supporters, many are. So when he calls for a boycott of baseball, as he just did, some will follow his lead. Given that the League’s numbers were dismal before this debacle, losing even a percent or two more of the fanbase, and their discretionary income, could become a lethal body blow. Let’s not forget that the average cost for a family to attend a game is well over $200. Lose those dollars, and you lose the game, possibly for good.
The message is simple: baseball fans want to be entertained by - imagine this - watching baseball. They don’t need lectures, don’t want to see their last haven destroyed by politicization, and, most of all, abhor being told what to say and how to think. Just as movie-goers want to be entertained by a flick - not preached to condescendingly by self-righteous actors - so too do sports fans simply desire to watch a game in peace.
For giggles, it would be interesting to see how many players, coaches and MLB executives know even the most basic nuances of the Georgia law. Obviously, most don’t have a clue (nor should they) which makes Baseball’s decision that much more mystifying. Taking a stand where your “ambassadors” know virtually nothing of the issue, and which has massive economic consequences on those who pay your salary, is not the best way to make friends and influence people.
By sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong, the MLB “braintrust” succeeded only in driving another nail into Baseball’s coffin.
4) Let’s talk baseball. In 1978, the World Series garnered 44.2 million viewers. In 2020 - when everyone was supposed to watch as a welcome diversion from the pandemic - the number was a paltry 9.8 million.
Participation in youth baseball sits at an all-time low, as today’s athletes prefer fast-paced games over laborious 9-inning marathons. And when participation drops, so does interest in attending/watching games.
Baby boomers, who are the last generation to view baseball as “America’s pastime,” are passing away, but they aren’t being replaced with Millennials or Generation Zers, as only seven percent of MLB viewers are reportedly under 18.
If Major League Baseball continues making unforced errors, and doesn’t reinvent itself by focusing on the sport instead of politics, America’s pastime will soon devolve into a sport past its time.
Yogi Berra said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
Got that right.