Tuesday, May 4, 2010

All-Star Game 2011 is the LEAST of my Arizona worries.

It's not that often that politics and baseball intersect, (aside from the fact that at the root of things politics is all about the balance of power, and so is baseball....and pretty much everything else.) But the Arizona immigration policy has sure got the baseball world in a frenzy.

There's a lot of buzz about whether or not the MLB should move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Phoenix. Some say yes, punish Arizona by yanking the $40 mil the game will bring in tourism revenue, don't send players or fans there. Others debunk that argument by saying baseball should stay out of it; don't worry, no one's going to arrest Albert Pujols.

I guess I understand why the All-Star game is the big-ticket question mark. But aren't there a couple more pressing issues to deal with first?

Like Arizona Fall League, and Cactus League Spring Training?

I wish I was seeing more bloggers and writers beating the drum about those, because they seem a lot more relevant to the argument.

Last year, MLB bragged that the 2009 Arizona Fall League rosters held a record number of foreign-born players. And while it's true that well-known Albert Pujols might not get hassled about his immigration status on his way to the All-Star Game, what about guys like Welington Castillo, or Dayan Viciedo going for dinner after a game? Think the same is true for them?

The majority of foreign-born players who spend falls and springs in Arizona are prospects who don't earn major-league money and who don't have major-league recognition. If you haven't seen the movie "Sugar" yet, now's a good time. It's a good representation of the difficulties foreign players face when they come to the U.S. I'm of the opinion that we don't need to pile government sponsored racial profiling on top of run of the mill culture-shock.

And then there's the oodles of young Hispanic players in the game who are U.S. born citizens, but who could still fall victim to the immigration hassle because of the color of their skin, when their job requires them to be in Arizona.

Baseball should be concerned about the AZ legislation, and they should be proactive. I don't have much faith in Selig to grow a pair and do anything, but I would love to see the Players' Union throw their considerable weight around here; a much worthier cause than the doping nonsense.

I don't know what the right solution might be....at the very least, I think prospects should have the option of turning down AFL invites without worrying about their managers and GM's criticizing and penalizing that decision. Not that I want the Fall League to get all lily-white on us either, though. (I'd actually prefer if EVERYONE stuck it to AZ and the Winter League rosters in Mexico, Venezuela and the Caribbean got expanded).

And Spring Training is an even stickier situation. More teams, more players, mandatory attendance. I'm just glad the Twins are a Grapefruit League team.

Basically, I don't really care about what they do with the All-Star Game in 2011 (except to say that Minnesota does happen to have a nice shiny new stadium, and I'm sure we'd be more than willing to pinch-hit for Arizona if needed and host a game earlier than expected. Just sayin'). Critics are right. Albert Pujols isn't going to get arrested. And I don't think whether Joe Mauer spends 3 days in July in Arizona or some place else is going to make much of a political difference. I just don't want the real issues to get lost behind a largely superficial debate.

There's my two cents.


OK. This was uncharacteristically serious. So, here's a picture of my dog trying to hump a beach ball:

And order is restored to the universe once again.


k-bro said...

Well said, Sarah.

I do agree that AFL and ST is a bigger issue. But since the All-Star Game is waaaay more glamorous, it can draw more media attention to this issue.

At any rate, my rose-colored outlook on difficult issues really wishes that Arizona officials would just say "oopsie, this turned out to be a bad idea after all so nevermind."

Oh, and that picture was totally hilarious.

thetwinsdifference said...


That is all.

Sarah said...

Of course I neglected to mention all the teams who have Rookie League teams in Arizona. There are a ton of them, and that's an even more immediate concern.

Jessica said...

The picture is even better when you notice that he is also picking his nose with his tongue. That dog's got skills.