Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that they are moving the All-Star Game to Coors Field in Denver after pulling the game from Atlanta over objections to sweeping changes to Georgia’s voting laws.
"Major League Baseball is grateful to the Rockies, the City of Denver and the State of Colorado for their support of this summer's All-Star Game," MLB commisioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "We appreciate their flexibility and enthusiasm to deliver a first-class event for our game and the region. We look forward to celebrating our sport's best players and entertaining fans around the world."
ESPN was first to report the decision. This will be the second time the Rockies host the "Midsummer Classic" game.
MLB pulled the July 13 game from Truist Park in Atlanta in response to Georgia voting rules that Republican Gov. Brian Kemp quickly signed into law March 25. Critics, including the CEOs of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, have condemned the changes as being too restrictive.
The Georgia law includes new limits on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run, amid a push in Republican-led states to reduce voting options after former president Donald Trump made baseless claims of widespread fraud in last year’s election.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states as of March 24, 2021, a 43% increase from Feb. 2021.
The Georgia law adds a photo ID requirement for voting absentee by mail, cuts the amount of time people have to request an absentee ballot, and limits where drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed. It also bans people from handing out food or water to voters waiting in line and allows the Republican-controlled State Election Board to remove and replace county election officials while curtailing the power of the secretary of state as Georgia’s chief elections officer.
Critics say it will disproportionately affect communities of color.
At a recent press conference, Geogia Gov. Brian Kemp vowed to defend the bill, saying that the league "caved to fear and lies from liberal activists" and pledged to defend the bill and stand up for "free and fair elections" in the face of boycotts abd lawsuits.
"I want to be clear: I will not be backing down from this fight. We will not be intimidated, and we will also not be silenced,” Kemp said, adding: "Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta may be scared of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden and the left, but I am not."
Prominent Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, called for the boycott of the league, as well as Coca-Cola, Delta, and other companies, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, UPS, and Merck.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a stern warning to corporate America amid the fallout from Georgia's new voting law: "My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don't pick sides in these big fights."
"Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order," the Republican leader continued, warning companies there could be risk if they wade into other political issues, such as climate change or gun violence.
When asked about the possibility of moving the game to Colorado, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the decision was up to the league, but added that the "Georgia legislation is built on a lie. There was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election."
A reporter asked the press secretary if the White House was concerned by the move to Georgia, claiming their laws are similar to Georgia's, but Psaki refuted that point, saying that Colorado has same-day voter registration and universal voting-by-mail, which she said was utilized by 94% of the state in the 2020 election.
Coors Field last hosted the All-Star Game in 1998, the fourth season for the stadium and sixth for the Rockies franchise.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.