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Apr 30 / Elizabeth DiNovella

Baseball Boycott

It’s exciting to see the outpouring of support for human rights in light of Arizona’s sweeping new immigration law.

The protests are spilling now over into baseball. New York City Congressman Jose Serrano is calling for Major League Baseball to pull the 2011 All-Star game out of Phoenix.
Wrigley Field

“Baseball and the Latin community, it’s a close relationship,” Serrano told the Chicago Tribune. “Latinos, they will be the ones, more than anyone else, who will be stopped on the street in violation of the constitutional rights. . . . States (that) make those decisions need to know that there are consequences to those decision.”

Arizona has felt the economic consequences before. The National Football League pulled the 1993 Superbowl from Tempe due to the MLK holiday flap. A baseball spokeman estimated that pulling the All-Star game could cost Arizona $40 million.

Serrano told the Trib that he may reach out to club owners and even ask players to boycott the All-Star game. Considering that 27 percent of the baseball players on Opening Day rosters were born outside the United States, this boycott isn’t just symbolic.

The Arizona Diamondbacks rolled into Chicago to play the Cubs, and the team was met with protesters. (The Diamondback’s owner, Ken Kendrick, is a major financial backer of the Republican Party in Arizona.)

Who knows, maybe boycotting the Arizona Diamondbacks could be something that brings Cubs fans and White Sox fans together. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was blunt in his criticism of the new law.

“That’s no respect of human rights,” he said. “Being illegal in any country, that’s not good, period. But the immigration (service) has to be careful about how they treat people.”

“I want to see one day with Latin Americans—it can be Mexican, Costa Rican—I want to see this country two days without them to see how good we’re doing. Everyone comes to this country to work, and I don’t think they’re going to do bad stuff here. They just come here to make things happen, to make a better life. I guarantee you whoever comes to this country and they don’t have their papers, they’re straight and narrow. They’re scared to be deported.”

Guillen, who was born in Venezuela, didn’t become a U.S. citizen until after he won the World Series.

President Obama is a White Sox fan and I can only hope he’s listening to what Guillen has to say.

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