Manfred won’t say how MLB would react to Texas election law

DENVER — Hours before baseball’s All-Star Game at Denver’s Coors Field, commissioner Rob Manfred wouldn’t say whether he would rule out any events in Texas if a law is adopted changing election laws there.

The game on Tuesday night was awarded to Atlanta and what then was called SunTrust Park on May 2019. Manfred moved it in April from the renamed Truist Park because of a Georgia voting law that critics say will negatively affect communities of color. His decision generally was denounced by conservatives and praised by liberals.

“I think the decision with respect to Atlanta was probably the hardest thing I’ve been asked to do so far,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday. “I’m kind of hoping it’s going to be the hardest thing I get asked to do, period.”

Republicans in Texas have proposed legislation that would outlaw 24-hour polling places, ban drop boxes for mail ballots and empower partisan poll watchers. Republicans say the measures are needed to fight fraud. Democrats counter fraud is very rare and the bills target their supporters.

MLB already has awarded the 2022 All-Star Game to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, which was to have hosted the 2020 game that was canceled because of the pandemic, and the 2026 game to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia as part of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

“I’m not going to speculate about who’s going to pass what law and where we might take jewel events,” Manfred said. “It’s hard enough to deal with it in the concrete real time. I just don’t think it’s productive for me.”

Manfred also would not say what would have to happen for Atlanta to be awarded an All-Star Game.

“I’m not going to get into what I would need to see changed,” he said. “Atlanta’s an important market to us, and it certainly will be an option at some point in the future.”

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