Baltimore mayor Brandon Scott and Orioles chairman and CEO John Angelos issued a joint statement Friday night supporting Major League Baseball’s decision to remove the 2021 All-Star Game from the Atlanta Braves’ ballpark in Georgia after that state passed laws critics say are aimed at suppressing votes in elections.
Scott tweeted: “Here in Baltimore we strongly support voting rights, as do our beloved [Orioles]. We’d love to host the All Star game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards the ballpark that inspired them all.”
The Orioles did not immediately respond to a request for comment and the statement they issued along with Scott did not mention whether the team was interested in hosting the All-Star Game.
The joint statement said: “The Orioles organization joins the City of Baltimore in support of today’s decision by Major League Baseball to relocate the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB Draft. 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.
“Baseball is our national pastime and preserving the right to vote is a pillar of our American democracy. The City of Baltimore and the Birds of Baltimore applaud MLB’s patriotism in supporting voting rights, and we encourage everyone to use this moment to fight for fair elections and register eligible Americans to vote and make their voices heard.”
MLB’s decision regarding holding the All-Star Game and other related events at the Braves’ Truist Park, which is located outside of Atlanta in suburban Cobb County, did not sit well with the Braves.
In a statement, the team said the “Braves organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities and we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion.”
The Orioles, however, have been using their standing as a professional sports franchise to do that for years. The team used Camden Yards as a voting site for both early voting and on Election Day in 2020, and spent the preceding year commemorating the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
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Camden Yards hosted a women’s empowerment exhibit from the National Women’s Party in 2020 as well
In announcing Camden Yards as a voting site in 2020, Orioles CEO and chairman John Angelos said in a statement: “The right of every American to vote in our elections is a fundamental promise of our democracy.”
Many MLB clubs used their stadiums for voting sites in 2020, but the Orioles’ foundational commitment to voting rights could make it an appealing site to contrast the former site in Georgia.
The last time the All-Star Game was held in Baltimore was in 1993.
Speaking before the 2017 All-Star Game in Washington, Manfred pushed back on the notion that the Orioles weren’t getting a fair shake at hosting one themselves. The ongoing legal dispute between the Orioles and Washington Nationals over broadcast rights fees for the Nationals games on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network were often blamed for the Orioles not hosting the showcase event in the summer.
“I have not made one decision in my entire time as commissioner related to the Baltimore Orioles that was based on whether or not the MASN litigation was ongoing,” Manfred said at the time. “I know there are some people who have perpetuated this idea. We have treated Baltimore exactly the same as the other 29 clubs since this dispute began. And, as a matter of fact, we have probably treated them more fairly in a number of important respects — or more leniently than more fairly, is what I mean.
“So whether or not there’s an All-Star Game in Baltimore depends on whether Baltimore gets organized and submits a bid that would be compelling for an All-Star Game, just like any other team.”