- The Washington Times - Monday, October 25, 2021

Major League Baseball yanked the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta over politics. But as every fan knows, the baseball gods have a sense of humor.

The Braves captured the National League pennant Saturday, sending the 2021 World Series to Truist Park in Atlanta and prompting glee from critics of the MLB‘s swipe at Georgia’s elections law.

After the Braves defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 to win the National League Championship Series in six games, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp brushed back Democratic power-broker Stacey Abrams, who stoked opposition to the elections law by describing it as “Jim Crow in a suit and tie.”

“While Stacey Abrams and the MLB stole the All-Star Game from hardworking Georgians, the Braves earned their trip to the World Series this season and are bringing it home to Georgia,” Mr. Kemp tweeted. “Chop On, and Go @Braves!”

Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, tweeted: “Braves to the World Series. Will @MLB force them to play their home games in Colorado?”

In April, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred relocated the All-Star Game and draft from Atlanta to Denver. He said it was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport” amid the uproar over the law, enacted a month earlier.

Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” Mr. Manfred said in an April 2 statement.

The move cost the local economy an estimated $100 million in lost revenue and prompted a lawsuit from the Job Creators Network on behalf of small businesses. The lawsuit was dropped in June.

Network President and CEO Alfredo Ortiz asked: “Is MLB going to move the World Series out of Atlanta? Of course not, because that would actually hurt the MLB.”

“Despite MLB’s best efforts, Atlanta-area small businesses are now enjoying the last laugh, reaping significant economic rewards for the Braves‘ deep playoff run,” Mr. Ortiz said. “Yet for some small businesses, this is too little, too late. Now would be a perfect time for MLB to apologize to the small businesses of Atlanta.”

Not everyone appreciated the governor’s message.

“You could do this tweet without making it partisan. We are just having fun right now,” tweeted Democratic state Rep. Josh McLaurin.

Others couldn’t help but comment on the twist of fate, especially since the Braves were underdogs against the Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers in the division series.

Braves! Major League Baseball pulled the all star game from Atlanta this year and the Braves responded with their first World Series this century! Glorious karma. Love it!” tweeted Outkick the Coverage founder Clay Travis.

PJ Media’s A.J. Kaufman called Atlanta‘s win “a slap in the face to President Joe Biden, woke Democrats, and Major League Baseball‘s clueless leadership.” USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale said it was “sweet revenge, Southern style.”

The Astros are the favorites to win the World Series, which begins Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. If the Braves pull off another upset, Mr. Manfred may find himself in an awkward position when he presents the Commissioner’s Trophy.

“If it’s Atlanta, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is going to be booed from Cobb County to Savannah for moving the All-Star Game to Denver in protest of Georgia’s voting laws,” Mr. Nightengale said.

Ms. Abrams said after the legislation passed that she opposed calls for a Georgia boycott, while Mr. Biden supported the MLB move, declaring: “I think today’s professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly.”

Sen. Raphael Warnock, Georgia Democrat, cheered the Atlanta Braves after their Saturday pennant victory, prompting critics to retweet his earlier comment on the All-Star Game relocation.

“The decision by MLB is a result of politicians silencing Georgians to stay in power. While I hope that athletes & others will protest this unjust law by coming to Georgia, I respect the players’ decision,” Mr. Warnock said in the April 2 tweet.

Mr. Biden also attacked the Georgia law as “Jim Crow in the 21st century,” while Republicans called such attacks absurd, arguing that the law actually expanded early voting and tightened up protocols implemented during the pandemic.

The law requires photo ID to vote by mail; bans handing out gifts, food or drink to voters in line within 25 feet of polling places, adds an extra Saturday for early voting, limits run-off elections from nine to four weeks, bans mailing absentee ballots unless requested, and places restrictions on drop boxes, which were added during the pandemic.

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the first name of Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the Job Creators Network.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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