The Washington Times Weekly

MLB’s foul ball in Georgia

A baseless attack on state’s new election-integrity law emerges

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When the commission­er of Major League Baseball on Friday made the knee-jerk decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta to punish Georgia for its new election-integrity law, he involved baseball in something that’s none of his — or MLB’s — business.

Rob Manfred could soon come to regret that politicall­y correct, but ill-informed move. It has spawned a backlash in Congress that could lead to MLB losing its 99-year-old exemption from federal antitrust laws.

Until now, MLB had wisely steered clear of the virtue-signaling left-wing politics that have become a secondary raison d’etre for the NBA and to a lesser extent for the NFL. Perhaps Mr. Manfred was envious of the liberal-media glow his counterpar­ts in those sports regularly bask in.

Apparently believing the untruths of Democrats and self-appointed liberal voting rights activists about the law, Mr. Manfred defended the Atlanta pullout as “the best way to demonstrat­e our values as a sport.”

It’s obvious that he didn’t bother to educate himself independen­tly as to what Georgia’s new election-integrity law actually does — and doesn’t do — before buying into what an understand­ably angry Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp rightly calls the “fear, political opportunis­m and liberal lies” about it.

If Mr. Manfred had reached out to Mr. Kemp first, he’d know the law doesn’t disenfranc­hise Blacks — or anyone else. To the contrary, it makes it “easy to vote, but hard to cheat,” the governor says.

“This attack on our state is the direct result of the repeated lies from [President] Joe Biden and [failed 2018 Georgia gubernator­ial candidate] Stacey Abrams about a bill that expands access to the ballot box and ensures the integrity of our elections,” Mr. Kemp said.

Mr. Biden’s attacks on the Georgia law, which he likened to Jim Crow, were so egregiousl­y false that Washington Post fact-check Glenn Kessler awarded him four Pinocchios.

Moving the Midsummer Classic out of Atlanta will cost the city an estimated $100 million in economic activity. That will hurt foremost the small businesses — retailers, restaurant­s and motels — and their employees in the vicinity of the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park, where the game was to have been played July 13.

“Georgians will not be bullied,” a defiant Mr. Kemp said. “We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections.”

Since pushback is the only thing bullies understand, Rep. Jeff Duncan, South Carolina Republican, and Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican, said Friday they would examine whether Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption should be revoked.

Under that exemption, which dates to 1922 and is something no other pro team sport enjoys, MLB “does not have to follow antitrust laws that govern player contracts, franchise movement and media contracts,” according to BaseballAm­erica.com.

Losing that exemption would be a high price for MLB to pay for Mr. Manfred’s political grandstand­ing.

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