DENVER (AP) – Major League Baseball plans to move the All-Star Game to Coors Field in Denver after withdrawing this year’s Atlanta Summer Classic over objections to sweeping changes in Georgia’s voting laws, according to a person familiar with the decision.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday night because MLB had not yet announced the move. The commissioner’s office was expected to declare Tuesday that the Colorado Rockies will host the game.
ESPN was the first to report the decision.
MLB withdrew the July 13 game from Truist Park in Atlanta in response to Georgia voting rules that Republican Gov. Brian Kemp swiftly signed into law on March 25. Critics, including CEOs of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, have condemned the changes as too restrictive.
Georgia’s law includes new limits on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are conducted, amid a push in Republican-led states to reduce voting options after former President Donald Trump made unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in last year’s election.
Colorado has a Democratic governor in Jared Polis and a Democratic-controlled legislature.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made the decision to move the All-Star events and amateur draft to Atlanta after discussions with individual players and the Players Alliance, an organization of black players formed after George Floyd’s death the year. past, the commissioner said in a statement.
Kemp has vowed to defend the measure and other Republicans have criticized the MLB measure. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott abstained from making the first pitch in the Texas Rangers’ home opener on Monday and said the state will not seek to host the All-Star Game or any other MLB special events.
Coors Field last hosted the All-Star Game in 1998, the fourth season for the stadium and the sixth for the Rockies franchise.
It’s unclear what kind of seating capacity there might have been due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The Rockies had a seating capacity during their first stay at home against World Series champions Los Angeles Dodgers of 21,363 fans, which was 42.6% of usual capacity. The seats were in capsules and the standing room areas were not available for fans to gather.
Players were also not allowed to sign autographs or throw baseballs into the stands, in accordance with MLB’s coronavirus protocols.
Nolan Arenado could be back with the “local” team, the National League, not the Rockies.
Arenado was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in the offseason after being disenchanted with the front office over the team’s vision. Arenado is a five-time All-Star and an eight-time Gold Glove winner.
Arenado continues to be popular at Coors Field, with fans showing up over the weekend in their Rockies uniform and their version of the Cardinals. There will be a preview of Arenado at Coors Field when the Cardinals play at Mile High City from July 1-4.
One thing is for sure: the Home Run Derby should be epic in height. Ken Griffey Jr. won it at Coors Field in 1998 by beating Jim Thome.
The last time the All-Star Game was in Denver, the American League beat the National League 13-8, with Bartolo Colón taking the victory and Ugueth Urbina taking the loss. There were 31 hits, but only three for home runs. Barry Bonds went to the outfield along with Alex Rodriguez and Roberto Alomar, the Baltimore second baseman who was selected as the Most Valuable Player.
Colorado was represented in that All-Star Game by Dante Bichette, Vinny Castilla, Larry Walker and coach Don Baylor.
And who knows? Maybe Bichette’s son Bo will make the All-Star Game this year. Bo Bichette is shortstop for Toronto.
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