Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
I have a confession. I admit that I’ve fallen asleep at Major League Baseball games – usually because of cheap seats and an uneventful game. Aside from the sometimes-boring, slow game-play, there are some things in the MLB that are pretty dang interesting. Steroids. Players’ dating lives. Immigration?
In Anaheim, Calif., the site of tonight's 2010 All-Star Game, MLB players and fans alike were protesting against holding the 2011 game in Phoenix, Ariz. Many called for league Commissioner Bud Selig to move the All-Star Game out of the state that passed a controversial immigration law. Although most of the league’s players have chosen not to publicly express their views on the law, some have gone as far as announcing plans of boycotting the game if it were to stay in Arizona. (Something to keep in mind: Latinos made up 28 percent of MLB’s player population in 2010.)
The All-Star Game, like many large sports attractions, has the ability to bring in the big bucks to the host city. San Francisco, New York City and St. Louis – the 2007, 2008 and 2009 hosts – all reported over $60 million in economic benefits from the game. New York City led the pack with a reported $148-million economic boost. Anaheim is estimated to net about $85 million from this year’s game.
I imagine that during the next year, this whole Arizona immigration law extravaganza will either explode in a fantastic display of controversial fireworks or simply fizzle out. If the former were to happen, I could imagine more MLB players – followed by seas of fans – boycotting an All-Star Game in Arizona. And if there is a boycott this time next year, how much could Phoenix expect to haul in? Or is it possible that Selig may move the game out of the state to avoid controversy? (Most reports render this unlikely.) This may be something to watch past October.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.