July 11, 2011

Arizona, The All-Star Game, And Speaking Up For Human Rights

On April 23, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070 ("Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act"), "which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, [and] would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally."

The 2011 All-Star Game was scheduled to be played in Phoenix. Nearly 30% of major league players - and roughly half of all minor leaguers - were born in Latin America. Shortly after Brewer signed the bill, the Major League Baseball Players Association issued a statement opposing the law and calling for its prompt repeal or modification, while also "consider[ing] additional steps necessary to protect the rights and interests of our members".

At the same time, many well-known players voiced their disapproval.

Albert Pujols:
I'm opposed to it. How are you going to tell me that, me being Hispanic, if you stop me and I don't have my ID, you're going to arrest me? That can't be.
(Pujols's manager, Tony LaRussa, supports the law.)

Heath Bell, the Padres' union representative, called the law "mind-boggling", and several of his San Diego teammates offered blunt assessments of the law.

Catcher Yorvit Torrealba:
This is racist stuff. It's not fair for a young guy who comes here from South America, and just because he has a strong accent, he has to prove on the spot if he's illegal or not. ... Why do I want to go play in a place where every time I go to a restaurant and they don't understand what I'm trying to order, they're going to ask me for ID first? That's bull. I come from a crazy country [Venezuela]. Now Arizona seems a little bit more crazy.
Jerry Hairston:
It reminds me of seeing the old movies with the Nazis when they ask you to show your papers. It's not right. I can't imagine my mom - who's been a US citizen longer than I've been alive, who was born and raised in Mexico - being asked to show her papers.
Adrian Gonzalez, a citizen of both the US and Mexico:
It's immoral. They're violating human rights. ... Are they going to pass out a picture saying "You should look like this and you're fine, but if you don't, do people have the right to question you?" ... If they leave it up to the players and the law is still there, I'll probably not play in the All-Star Game. ... I know it can't be done, but they should take spring training out of [Arizona] if it's possible.
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yvonni Gallardo: "If the game is in Arizona, I will totally boycott."

Kansas City reliever Joakim Soria: "They could stop me and ask to see my papers. I have to stand with my Latin community on this." ... Detroit Tigers pitcher Jose Valverde agreed with that sentiment, as did Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista: "Hopefully, there are some changes in the law ... We have to back up our Latin communities."

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he would boycott the ASG and sounded off on the law:
Once they have this in one state, every state will come out with the same stuff and that's going to be hard. And [immigrants] — I don't care what law you do – they're not going to leave. They came to make money, they came to work and they came to make this country better. ... Most are workaholics. This country can't survive without [them].

Cardinals reliever Miguel Batista has been a players union board member. He lives in Arizona and won a World Series with the Diamondbacks.
We need to all get informed; what is the basic basis of this law? Because I have an accent, you have a right to ask me for my papers? Because I'm not blonde with blue eyes? What do you actually base the stereotype on to have to ask me for my papers?
Jorge Cantu, who has dual citizenship in the US and in Mexico, disagreed with the law, but did not think the game should be moved.

Enrique Morones, the former VP of Latino and Diversity Marketing for the San Diego Padres, worked hard to get the 2011 All-Star Game moved to another city. Morones is also the founder of Border Angels, an organization that leaves blankets, food, and water on the rough border terrain for people attempting to cross. Morones:
It's unbelievable to me that we want to celebrate the annual All-Star Game in the state of the anti-immigrant Minutemen, and the state where Sheriff Joe Arpaio breaking every civil and human right possible. You also have Nazis literally on the border of Arizona, and then you also have the Senate Bill 1070 ... So what does Major League Baseball say? Let's go celebrate an All-Star Game in that state. ... [I]f Bud Selig was the commissioner in the 1940s we never would have heard of Jackie Robinson.
Arpaio plans on having a chain gang of female prisoners picking up trash outside the ballpark tomorrow night. This is another disturbing trend in the US, having forced labourers (slaves, in a sense) doing the jobs once held by unionized workers. Wisconsin is doing the same thing.

In March, MSNBC's Craig Calcaterra wrote that "Selig is the last man on the planet who would take a stand on anything. Especially a stand that would cost him or his fellow owners money ... Selig would play that game in Arizona if God Almighty came down from the heavens and commanded him to move it."

While Selig "continues to sponge himself luxuriantly in the spirit and memory of Jackie Robinson", he has been nearly mute on the Arizona issue for the past 14 months. His few comments have been incomprehensible:
Apparently all the people around and in minority communities think we're doing OK. That's the issue, and that's the answer. I told the clubs today: "Be proud of what we've done." They are. We should. And that's our answer. We control our own fate, and we've done very well.
Vivek Malhotra, the advocacy and policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said SB 1070
is a watershed moment in modern America for its blatant disregard of America's most fundamental values. ... This law does nothing short of making all of its Latino residents, and other presumed immigrants, potential criminal suspects in the eyes of the law. It authorizes police officers to stop and ask people for their immigration papers based only on some undefined "reasonable suspicion" ... [H]ow do you know people are unauthorized to be in the United States just by looking at them?
Malhorta noted the case of Julio Mora and his son, Julian Mora, who, before SB 1070 became law, were stopped and removed from their car by Maricopa County police on February 11, 2009, arrested, forcibly transported to a holding area, and detained for nearly three hours. Julio Mora is a lawful resident of Arizona and his son is a US citizen. Last week, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (headed by Joe Arpaio) was told to pay $200,000 to settle a discrimination claim brought by the Moras.

Hiroshi Motomura, a professor of law at UCLA:
No state may superimpose its own immigration enforcement regime if it decides that federal law isn't harsh enough. ... This ["reasonable suspicion"] standard gives institutional cover for selective immigration enforcement through racial and ethnic profiling...
The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona in July 2010, claiming that the law interfered with immigration regulations "exclusively vested in the federal government". The lawsuit did not address any of the racial aspects. An April 2011 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Department of Justice, holding that if an individual state (or states) adopted its own immigration laws, it would, in effect, mean that a state had established a foreign policy that might well be in opposition to the greater national policy. Circuit Judge John Noonan called that an "absurdity too gross to the entertained".

A week after Brewer signed SB 1070, she signed HB 2162 (in the hopes of quieting the firestorm of criticism and possible lawsuits), which amended the previous bill to state that law enforcement officials or agencies "may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution." (Well, that solves that, then, doesn't it? The original bill, with the added amendments in a different font colour, can be read here.)

As to that phrase "to the extent permitted", the US Supreme Court ruled in 1975 that race and color can be considered when trying to ascertain a person's citizenship: "The likelihood that any given person of Mexican ancestry is an alien is high enough to make Mexican appearance a relevant factor." And the Arizona Supreme Court agreed, in 1982, that "enforcement of immigration laws often involves a relevant consideration of ethnic factors".
On July 28, 2010, one day before SB 1070 was scheduled to take effect, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that blocked the law's most controversial provisions, while various legal challenges could be resolved.That ruling has led many people to believe the discriminatory aspects of the law have been eradicated.

Shortly after he was traded to the Red Sox, Adrian Gonzalez told ESPN's Gordon Edes that SB 1070 "has been tweaked a little, I hear, so it's a lot better than it was in the beginning." It was very disheartening to hear Gonzalez take back the strong words he spoke in April 2010 (my emphasis):
The first time I heard about that law, they told me the "Readers Digest" version, a really quick version, and I was, "Wow, I don't agree with it." The more I read I still didn't agree with it, and then the next day somebody came up saying there have been players who have said because of the law they might not play. I said that if players that I look up to and admire aren't going to play, then I'll follow suit, but I'm not going to be the one to set that precedent. But obviously it wasn't written that way. It came out and made it seem like I wouldn't play. Then I talked to the players' association about it. I'm a big part of the association. They were like, "Hey, we're going to ask everybody to play. It's still up to you if you want to play, but we're not going to get into the political end of it." ... If I'm invited to the All-Star Game, I'm playing.
Gonzalez (a) implies that his principled stand against racism and bigotry was a misquote or distortion and (b) wished the media had accurately reported his mealy-mouthed stance.

If Gonzalez believes the law is wrong, and the proper thing to do is boycott the All-Star Game - as he said last year - he should not change his beliefs based on what Albert Pujols, for example, decides to do. And, as both Howard Zinn and Geddy Lee* would attest, Gonzalez will be taking a stand no matter what he does.

* - Zinn: "You can't stay neutral on a moving train." Lee: "If you chose not to decide, you still have made a choice."
Michael Weiner, the head of the MLBPA, has repeated the union's opposition to the Arizona law, but has not called for any display of that opposition. He says the All-Star Game is "an opportunity to celebrate contributions baseball has made to civil rights and the equal treatment of all". Yes, as Selig would no doubt agree, it's safe to be proud of those contributions, now that the controversy and struggle is in the distant past, and blacks and whites playing professional baseball together is thoroughly accepted.

Dave Zirin, the author of several books on politics and sports, and a columnist for The Nation, says that Gonzalez and the MLBPA are mistaken for thinking the worst is over. Brewer is banking that the conservative US Supreme Court will lift the injunctions and allow SB 1070 to be fully implemented. In addition, the law has inspired similar (or harsher) legislation in at least a half-dozen other states.

In January 2011, Mississippi passed SB 2179, which makes it a crime to be caught without immigration papers. Police can, "without warrant", arrest anyone "reasonably believed" to be in the country without papers.

In May 2011, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed HR 87, which gives state and local police the same powers as federal immigration officials - to arrest and jail suspicious looking people for not having the correct documentation when ordered, "Papers, please." While debating that bill, Senator Renee Unterman praised the cooperation between federal immigration officials and the Georgia police: "I see fewer foreigners driving around." There is now a shortage of immigrant labour in Georgia and crops are rotting in the fields. Government officials have tried (with varying degrees of success) to get unemployed ex-convicts to do the back-breaking work.

Two days after Deal signed HR 87, MLB held its annual Civil Rights Game in Atlanta. Oops! Selig invited musician Carlos Santana to speak at the festivities, a decision Selig likely regretted once Santana admonished the crowd: "The people of Arizona, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia, you should be ashamed of yourselves". Because he had the termitity to speak about civil rights at the Civil Rights Game, Santana was booed.

Federal courts have enjoined portions of similar laws in Utah and Indiana. Other anti-immigrant laws make it illegal to transport undocumented people, so, as the New York Times recently editorialized, "a son could land in jail for driving his mother to the supermarket, or a church volunteer for ferrying families to a soup kitchen".

Earlier this year, Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce pushed for passage of SB 1611, which would blatantly violate the US Constitution by, among other things, revoking citizenship for US-born children of undocumented immigrants and denying children the right to public education if their parents could not produce a US birth certificate or naturalization papers. That bill was defeated, but Pearce, a hateful racist bastard, is not giving up.
It took me a while on 1070, too. I introduced it in '05, '06, '07, '08, '09 and 2010 before we had a governor that would sign it. And we've become the envy of this nation with 25 states writing legislation modeled after 1070.
It is a fair bet that most readers of this blog have not heard of all of these bills. (The Mississippi law was news to me, as were the bits from the Times editorial.) Which is why speaking out against these inhumane laws is vitally important. Sadly, two Red Sox players - Gonzalez and David Ortiz - do not agree.

In late June, Michael Silverman of the Herald asked Gonzalez if the All-Star Game was an opportunity to speak out about SB 1070. Gonzalez said: No.
That's a government issue - we're baseball players, not politicians. ... The union has said "do whatever you want, you're on your own. If you want to speak your mind, you can, but it's a political issue, not a baseball issue."
David Ortiz opposes SB 1070, but says players should not use the spotlight of the All-Star Game to speak out against the bill:
"Baseball is not related at all to politics," said Ortiz.

Jackie Robinson was, he was reminded.

"I ain't Jackie Robinson," Ortiz said with a smile. "Sometimes, but remember that was something massive - not only one guy can go out there and act like he knows everything. That's something where you work as a group. ... There's nothing baseball can do about it right now ... It's not baseball's fault, or MLB's fault, that that thing is going on in Arizona. I personally think it's not fair. ... [H]opefully that thing goes away and everything goes back to normal."
Ortiz is completely and utterly wrong, and his words reveal a profound ignorance about Robinson's struggle, baseball's decades-long role in demanding social justice, and the many professional athletes who, on their own, are speaking out right now. His shoulder-shrugging and passive wishes that the right thing somehow magically happen, when repeated by millions of people, is how these virulently racist bills are being passed throughout the US.

The All-Star Game or the World Series - with its increased viewing audiences - is exactly the place to stand up. That should be self-evident. You don't ask your oppressors for permission to speak out against them. When you speak out, you go where the most people can see and hear you. Plus, this is not a general political grievance; the game is being played in the very state which passed the law!

As noted at the top of this post, many baseball players spoke out against SB 1070 last year when it was first in the news - and they did so, not as a group, but individually. Other non-baseball athletes have weighed in, as well:

Etan Thomas of the Atlanta Hawks, who has spoken at several anti-war rallies in Washington, DC, criticized Georgia bill HR 87:
[It] means they can pull anyone over at anytime and their only crime could be minding their business. That goes against everything this country should stand for. ... I applaud the thousands of people who gathered at the Georgia Capitol Thursday to protest this legislation. ... What if after the Oklahoma City Bombing they passed legislation allowing police to detain and question every young white male? That would correctly be interpreted as a violation of their civil rights. And just as this example seems completely absurd, so does detaining every person who looks like they could be Hispanic to see if they are legal or illegal. ... This law has no place in a democracy.
Rashard Mendenhall of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Milwaukee Bucks guard Chris Douglas-Roberts were offended by the national orgasm over the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death. On Twitter, Douglas-Roberts posted:
It took 919,967 deaths to kill that one guy. It took 10 years & 2 Wars to kill that...guy. It cost us (USA) roughly $1,188,263,000,000 ... But we winning though. Haaaa. (Sarcasm).
Steve Nash and Joakim Noah of the NBA and Scott Fujita and Adalius Thomas of the NFL protested the invasion of Iraq. In 2003, Nash wore a T-shirt stating "No War. Shoot for Peace." to the NBA All-Star activities:
From the start, I spoke out just because I don't want to see the loss of life. People are mistaking anti-war as being unpatriotic. ... [I]t's really unfortunate in the year 2003 that we're still using violence as a means of conflict resolution. That's what I'm speaking out against.
Many athletes - Michael Strahan, Nic Harris, and Donte' Stallworth of the NFL, New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch, and NHL player Sean Avery and Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke - have unequivocally offered their support for gay marriage. Another NFL player, Brendon Ayanbadejo, said:
This should not be a subjective issue. Gay and lesbian couples want to marry for similar reasons as we all do: love and commitment. It's time to allow them the opportunity to build a family through marriage. ... Churches can always have their beliefs, but government is supposed to treat everyone the same ... America is supposed to be the land of the free, but in order for this to be true for all of us, then we must have the ability to marry whom we love, regardless of their gender ... Join me in the land of the brave, for standing on the side of love.
On Cinco de Mayo 2010, the Phoenix Suns took the court for a playoff game wearing jerseys that read simply "Los Suns", in solidarity with those opposed to SB 1070.

Carlos Delgado has been outspoken about his political activism, protesting the use of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, as a bombing target practice facility by the US Department of Defense (the bombing was stopped in 2003). Delgado, because of his opposition to the occupation of Iraq, stayed in the dugout whenever "God Bless America" was played during the seventh inning stretch.

Ted Williams, who grew up in San Diego and whose mother was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, devoted part of his Hall of Fame induction speech - in 1966! - to supporting Negro League players:
I hope some day Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson will be voted into the Hall of Fame as symbols of the great Negro players who are not here only because they weren't given the chance.
There was no chance that Selig and MLB would take the 2011 ASG out of in Phoenix, but there are precedents for a professional league moving a huge sporting event.

The NFL moved Super Bowl XXVII from Arizona in 1993 after the state refused to acknowledge Martin Luther King Day and the NCAA has banned tournaments from being played in South Carolina because of the state's embrace of the Confederate flag.

In 1965, Carlton Chester "Cookie" Gilchrist led a group of 22 African-American football players to boycott the AFL All-Star Game in New Orleans. When white players announced their solidarity, the game was moved to Houston. Gilchirst (who died this past January) was a star in both the CFL and AFL, and said the boycott was "better than anything I did playing football". In 1964, he told Sports Illustrated:
People think I'm an oddball because I'm a Negro who speaks up. But I have a lot on my mind. It's an internal disease, and it'll eat me alive if I don't get it out of my system what I think about things.
The desegregation of major league baseball was not decreed from the top, but came about, as all social change does, because of a massive and unrelenting push from the bottom. Lester "Red" Rodney, a sportswriter for the Communist Party newspaper, The Daily Worker, led activists to petition outside ball parks throughout the 1930s. In 2004, Rodney recalled,
for the most part [we] never encountered any hostility from fans. People would say, "Gee, I never thought of that." And then they'd say, "Yeah, I think if they're good enough then they should have a chance." We wound up with at least a million and a half signatures that we delivered straight to the desk of [Commissioner] Judge Landis.
Those rallies and petitions and the courage of lone voices were all important and necessary steps on the road to Robinson's debut in 1947, the integration of the last major league team (the Red Sox) in 1959, the hiring of Frank Robinson as the first black manager in 1975, to the welcoming of players from all corners of the globe in the last 25 years.

And there is a long history of professional athletes speaking out against injustice, racism, and bigotry, from Gilchrist, Branch Rickey, Muhammad Ali, Tommy Smith and John Carlos, and Roberto Clemente to the athletes who spoke out against the 1991 bombing of Iraq to the quotes posted here and the recent "It Gets Better" videos produced by the Giants, Cubs, and Red Sox.

In August 2010, a group of activists ran out onto the field during a Diamondbacks home game and unfurled a banner calling for Selig to move the 2011 ASG. One of the protestors, Rosa Lozano, said:
I did it because when history reflects this egregious time of civil and human rights violations I want to be able to have pride in saying that I didn't stand idly by and allow human beings to be treated like animals because of their immigration status.
I was hoping some major league players - and especially players from the Red Sox - would make that same decision as the date of this year's All-Star Game drew near. But faced with a near-perfect platform to denounce a clear case of racism that could affect hundreds and perhaps thousands of their fellow players, both in the minors and majors, David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez have decided to, as the Herald's Michael Silverman put it, "stay quiet when everyone is listening".


mattymatty said...


johngoldfine said...

Wonderful post. Thanks.

laura k said...

Epic. Thank you.

laura k said...

I never expect professional athletes to speak up about anything controversial, only to ally themselves with the blandest charity work that no one could possibly object to. Then I'm continually impressed and surprised at the very long and rich history of professional athletes who have done exactly the opposite. (Thank you, Dave Zirin! Even though I am envious of your career.)

It's tough to have principles, the kind of principles that would prevent you from playing in an All Star Game, or earn you hate mail. But I wondered if one of this year's All Stars would discover the many rewards of taking such a stand.

I appreciate the high-profile players who have spoken out against Arizona's racist laws. I'm very disappointed in this lost opportunity.

Ryan said...

Well said. Thank you for taking what must have been considerable time to assemble and write this post.

SoSock said...

Well said sir

Tom DePlonty said...

Great post. Thanks for compiling the list of the 1070 follow-ons. It's appalling that these laws are being passed around the country.

laura k said...

And PS: Bud Selig should be permanently barred from associating himself and his policies with Jackie Robinson.

allan said...

Thanks. The best part was finding all the quotes from athletes over the past few years. There were WAY more than I expected!

... considerable time to assemble and write this post.

Shorter JoS: "No game thread tonight."

BZ said...

Outstanding. This should be required reading for (at least) all sports journalists/reporters. All the 'fluff' needs to be countered with some difficult questions that require thoughtful answers and then - action.

Don't you wonder what the curriculum at schools of journalism is like these days?

Jim said...

Great post!

E-mail to Harper with a heading: "You won't let this happen here, right?"

allan said...

The post has been reprinted at Press Action.

And for superb reporting on the mix of sports/politics, you must bookmark Dave Zirin.

Zenslinger said...

Good show. Thank you.

Maxwell Horse said...

"I never expect professional athletes to speak up about anything controversial, only to ally themselves with the blandest charity work that no one could possibly object to."

I remember seeing a fluff piece a few years ago. I forgot the year (it might've been 2007 or 2008) and it was on one of those Red Sox Report type shows. Anyway, the segment was about Papelbon visiting a grade school with Coco Crisp. And Pap was doing some kind of motivational speech to the kids about how teamwork was important. (Get it? Because he plays on a baseball team. Who would know better the importance of teamwork!?) And the whole thing seemed so rote and insipid it actually pissed me off.

Maxwell Horse said...

Also, kudos to joy of sox for going against the standard joe sixpack stance of, "Hey, I watch sports to *escape* from all that stuff!" (Everyone always says this, and it's always bullshit. Like they're spending all day fighting for freedom or researching on ways to improve the human condition or something, and they just want a couple hours at the end of each day to unwind from their Bruce Wayne lives.)

allan said...

Finally got some troll comments. I expected them much sooner.

The Gist? I know nothing and am siding with Mexican drug cartels.

matthew said...

Outstanding. Best. Post. Ever.

MacLeodCartoons said...

Amen to all the above. Thanks Allan. And any post with a Howard Zinn post is a good thing... I found this quote about Zinn on the comments to his NPR [wbur] obit - "I got to know Howard when I was working at the Whole Foods Market in Newtonville, where he frequently shopped. While I have admired his work and his intellect, the most animated conversations we ever had were about the Red Sox. I liked getting to know that side of him. A brilliant professor, writer, speaker, and presence in the world, and what's underneath is an unabashed Red Sox fan. That will be my enduring memory of Howard."

tim said...

Post of the year.

A sad lol to the Carlos Santana/Human Rights Game. There'ya go! How dare he ruin our good times with this human rights bullshit! And what irony to hold it at the home of the BRAVES. Why didn't they bring a group of real life BRAVES to discuss human rights and treating everyone equally in the land of the free?

It is sad that everyone condemned the law when it was big news, then when it came time for action, all backed away from their so-called principles.

Kudos to the athletes that have took a stand on issues - delgado, nash, avery et al - and not succumbing to the corporate opinion (aka the "popular" opinion) - just like supporting the troops is the norm and opposing them is a crazy, pinko, commie, controversial view.

tim said...

Oh, and thanks for the tip on Edge of Sports - bookmarked, going to be part of my reading from now on.

tim said...

Speaking of "bland" charities, just flicked on the ASG to see how our HFA for WS was coming (shitty, I might add) - and whats going on? A nice big feature ad on STAND UP TO CANCER.

Well, thats great and all, but how about we STAND UP TO SB 1070 instead?

Judging by the people in the crowd holding the stand up to cancer signs, looks like a lily white crowd tonight. In fact, I think the only hispanics in Chase Field are either on the field or carrying around a broom and dust pan.

tim said...

I can already tell, MLB is going to royally screw up realignment.

"Selig said he liked the idea of a reverse DH in interleague, with the AL cities not using the DH while the NL cities would, so fans can see how the other side operates."


laura k said...

I think the only hispanics in Chase Field are either on the field or carrying around a broom and dust pan.

Heh, good observation. I know the Dodgers have huge Latino outreach - all their material is bilingual and much of it is trilingual (Eng/Span/Japanese), and do tons of promos geared to Latino fans. I've wondered about other parks where there's a sizeable Spanish-speaking population, like Texas or Colorado. I haven't been to a game in Arizona, but I'd be pretty surprised if they had a similar program.

Stand up to cancer - perfect example. Nash and Delgado - more great examples, for their fellow athletes.

Plus I can't let this go without a +1:

And any post with a Howard Zinn post is a good thing

I miss him!!

laura k said...

I can already tell, MLB is going to royally screw up realignment.

You can set your clock by it. MLB always gets it wrong.

Realignment is a great opportunity. And they're guaranteed to screw it up.

allan said...

Like they're spending all day fighting for freedom or researching on ways to improve the human condition or something, and they just want a couple hours at the end of each day to unwind from their Bruce Wayne lives.

I hope Horse never stops commenting here.

so fans can see how the other side operates."

Because how else will fans of an AL team ever find out about that quirky group of NLers waaaaaay over there?

It's not like there is a magic box in their living room that will somehow receive and show moving pictures from this strange universe ... That's crazy talk.

Liam, Summa Contra said...

As a native Arizonan, I felt compelled to offer my two cents on the issue.

I find everything wrong and nothing right with SB 1070. I did not vote for Brewer and can't think of circumstances in which I would. Having said that...

From Tim's comments, "Judging by the people in the crowd holding the stand up to cancer signs, looks like a lily white crowd tonight. In fact, I think the only hispanics in Chase Field are either on the field or carrying around a broom and dust pan."

Hyperbole aside, I was at the game, and have gone to about a dozen or so games at Chase annually over the last ten years. Your comments are those of someone who has, to paraphrase Ray Kinsella, heard of Arizona.

Speaking of the game, there were protesters there. I would guess about twenty of them. That's right, 20. If you think I'm joking look it up. I saw more Hispanics in my section of the game than I did outside protesting. I can't know their motives, but I would guess they are similar to mine.

I'm as much a Democrat as a Red Sox fan; it runs in the family. Why was I there? Because although I have nothing but comtempt for SB 1070 and Jan Brewer, it reminds me too much of California's Prop 187 from the mid-90s. I feel the measure is both disgusting and utterly useless, but also don't wish to judge the people of the state by one political action, especially one that springs from federal, not state, laws. I felt moving the game would be as much an act of sound and fury as I feel SB 1070 will end up being. To take away the game would be to hurt everyone in the state, including the Democrats who oppose it.

For those who don't know, the first pitch of the All Star Game was thrown out by Daniel Hernandez, one of Rep. Giffords interns who helped stop the shooting at Tucson.

I guess that makes him un tio Tomas? Or just a proud Arizonan who wishes to represent the best the state has to offer?

Make of it what you will.

laura k said...

Speaking of the game, there were protesters there. I would guess about twenty of them. That's right, 20. If you think I'm joking look it up.

What's your point here? What does the absence of a large, organized protest mean to you? To me, all it means it's very difficult to organize a protest. It says nothing about the justness of the law or the opposition to it.

I'm as much a Democrat as a Red Sox fan

Maybe that's your problem: relying on the Democrats, thinking that will ever move things in the direction you want.

I feel the measure is both disgusting and utterly useless, but also don't wish to judge the people of the state by one political action, especially one that springs from federal, not state, laws.

If you don't want people to judge your state by this law, you should be out there protesting and trying to change it. If you don't (and especially, by attending the game) you are complicit in the law.

If you think voting Democrat means you're not, you might want to study how unjust laws have been changed in the US - through people's movements, not by voting Democrat.

To take away the game would be to hurt everyone in the state, including the Democrats who oppose it.

Exactly. That's exactly why it should happen: to hurt everyone in the state, so that they wake up and demand the law be changed. Those who voted for it and those who voted against it.

"The proud Arizonan" who helped stop an assassination attempt is utterly irrelevant.

Your silence is complicity. It's sad that you don't understand that.

laura k said...

To take away the game would be to hurt everyone in the state, including the Democrats who oppose it.

By the way, this is the argument that was used against boycotting apartheid South Africa. It was bullshit then and it's bullshit now.

laura k said...

especially one that springs from federal, not state, laws.

I also wonder what's behind this phrase. The AZ law "springs from" federal laws? In what way? Does this imply some "get tough on illegal immigration" law was necessary because federal laws aren't "protecting" (quotes definitely necessary) the border?

Liam, Summa Contra said...

If you don't want people to judge your state by this law, you should be out there protesting and trying to change it. If you don't (and especially, by attending the game) you are complicit in the law.

There are means to change the law that don't involve boycotting the All Star Game. That some people decided this was the best platform to voice their opinions does not mean everyone who agrees with their views must also accept their way of fighting it.

For example, some people did this:


I understand this is a baseball blog, and therefore the politics of the issue was filtered thusly, but please don't assume the All Star Game represents the only means to affect change in Arizona.

No offense meant, but we're the ones who live here, and I think, given the time, the state and its people will do the right thing.

I can't promise it will be on your time, however.

allan said...

There are means to change the law that don't involve boycotting the All Star Game. ... please don't assume the All Star Game represents the only means to affect change in Arizona.

Who with even two brain cells to rub together thinks this? No one here, that's for sure.

No offense meant, but we're the ones who live here, and I think, given the time, the state and its people will do the right thing.

Is this part of your stand-up act?

Liam, Summa Contra said...

Who with even two brain cells to rub together thinks this? No one here, that's for sure.

Laura K wrote "Your silence is complicity. It's sad that you don't understand that," she is assuming that I am silent, thus complicit, on the issue. She arrived at that conclusion, I don't know where, as all I have stated is that I don't think boycotting the All Star Game was a good idea.

Is this part of your stand-up act?

No, this is my stand up act:

My cousin is attending grad school at Guelph University in Ontario. I asked him how different it is living in Canada, growing up in Arizona as he did. He summed it up like this.

"Two major things: First, you stay indoors in Canada from December to February instead of from June to August. Two, Canadians treat Americans a lot like celebrities treat the general public."

"How so?" I asked.

"Well, in that aside from criticizing and telling you exactly how to live your life in a place they've probably never been nor wish to visit, they don't want to have a fucking thing to do with you."

laura k said...

Allan and I both know quite a lot about the United States, having lived there from birth until 2005. Your cousin, on the other hand, knows very little about Canada, if he thinks that people stay indoors all winter. (You've heard of skating? Skiing?)

However, the issues here are not specific to any one country or any one state. These are issues of how social change is created.

When the principal organizers around an issue call for a boycott - of a country, a state, a company, whatever - they have assessed the situation and feel a boycott is one way to make an impact, either economically or through visibility or both.

Some people find that boycott inconvenient, so they break it, then they rationalize the results, and they announce that - despite having done little research and having little or no experience in the issue - they know best.

Your initial post here makes it very clear that you are not an activist and know little or nothing about how activism works. That's why I said "your silence is complicity", because I strongly suspect you are 100% silent about this except at the voting booth, which is meaningless.

So you wanted to go to the ASG, and not only that, you wanted to go with a clear conscience and without criticism. Well, it looks like you couldn't have all three.

Why not live with the consequences and move on. After all, the consequences are only a little criticism on the internet. It's not like anyone is stopping your car and hauling you in for interrogation and detention because of your ethnic background.