Three days after Rob Manfred announced he was pulling baseball’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta, the blowback grew in intensity not only from outside the sport, but also from within.
Leaders on the left, including former President Barack Obama, have praised Manfred’s decision, as have several MLB teams. But a slew of Republican political leaders continued to attack Manfred on Monday, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who suggested that Manfred should resign from Augusta National, the famed golf club elsewhere in Georgia that hosts the Masters this week.
“I am under no illusion you intend to resign as a member from Augusta National Golf Club,” Rubio wrote in a letter to Manfred. “To do so would require a personal sacrifice, as opposed to the woke corporate virtue signaling of moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta.”
Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game following Georgia’s ratification of new voting laws that critics believe will suppress voting rights, disproportionately affecting Black voters. The game is expected to be moved to Coors Field in Denver.
In a rare display of defiance against the commissioner, one of Manfred’s owners spoke out against the decision.
“I do not support moving the All-Star Game,” Ken Kendrick, managing general partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, wrote in a text message to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. “I think MLB should not engage in politics.”
Kendrick, a conservative, elaborated in an interview with an Arizona radio station on Monday, telling Arizona Sports 98.7 FM that the Diamondbacks “absolutely would not” want to be a host of this year’s game in place of the Braves. “It would be an insult to my friends at the Atlanta Braves for us to take the game that was theirs,” Kendrick said.
Kendrick’s politics are well established. In January, election filings showed he donated to controversial, far-right Congresswoman Lauren Boebert.