Baseball joins other sports in flexing its activist muscle

There were many factors, though, that made M.L.B.’s action on Friday unique. While major league club owners are no different than their counterparts in professional basketball or football in being a largely Republican donor set, the demographics on the field are starkly different. The sport’s fan base is older and less racially diverse than basketball’s and football’s. The majority of major league players are white, and many trend conservative in their personal politics. (Roughly 30 percent of M.L.B. players are Latino, most of them from outside the United States; only 8 percent are Black.)…

The Miami Marlins part owner Derek Jeter, a Hall of Fame former player and the only nonwhite chief executive in baseball, released a statement that supported Manfred’s decision and noted that his team in November had engaged in an activity — providing meals to voters at a polling place — that is now illegal in Georgia. And the Baltimore Orioles chief executive, John Angelos, released a statement with Mayor Brandon Scott of Baltimore, who had lobbied earlier in the day to host the All-Star Game. “As the birthplace of civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall, we stand united with Commissioner Manfred in denouncing this malicious legislative effort to suppress voters in Georgia and other state legislatures,” they said.

Although no active player had publicly called for a boycott of the All-Star Game, Manfred understood what could happen if Atlanta remained the host city, a baseball official said. The tributes to Aaron would have celebrated perhaps the greatest Black player in history. But if the event remained in Atlanta, players and coaches might be faced with questions about whether they would take part or stay away to protest the voting law.