SBD/July 11, 2011/Events and AttractionsPrint All
MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner on Friday issued a second statement on the controversial Arizona immigration law that has been likened by many to racial profiling. Weiner decried the law last year, but with key portions of the measure now tied up in federal legal disputes, he said Friday that he has not advised players to boycott this week’s All-Star Game events in Phoenix. The game “is a chance to celebrate Major League Baseball’s unprejudiced commitment to excellence -- a commitment, undiminished for decades, to judge solely on the basis of individual ability and achievement,” Weiner said. Several protests and a ribbon campaign are still planned near and around All-Star Game events this week to raise awareness of the SB 1070 immigration law. But Weiner in his statement said, “Our nation continues to wrestle with serious issues regarding immigration, prejudice and the protection of individual liberties. Those matters will not be resolved at Chase Field, or on any baseball diamond; instead they will be addressed in Congress and in statehouses and in courts” (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale notes Red Sox 1B Adrian Gonzalez was “among several players who attacked Arizona’s immigration initiative, SB 1070, a year ago, saying he would consider boycotting the All-Star Game if it wasn’t moved out” of the state. Gonzalez has since said that he will “decline to answer all questions on the subject in” today’s news conference. Gonzalez: “What I said was misinterpreted. At the time, I didn’t know much about the law. I still don’t. It’s not something I’m even going to get into” (USA TODAY, 7/11).
LOUD AND CLEAR: In L.A., Kevin Baxter reported Somos America, Arizona’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, will “have a presence outside Chase Field” and in front of “the Phoenix Convention Center, where the concurrent FanFest” is being held. Somos America President Luis Avila said the demonstrators will be asking people to wear white ribbons to “take a stand against divisive hate-based legislation.” Baxter noted that is a "far cry from what they were asking for a year ago, when Commissioner Bud Selig was being pressured to move the game out of Arizona.” Baseball officials said that “relocating the game was considered but rejected because it was unlikely to affect the Arizona law” (L.A. TIMES, 7/10). In N.Y., George Vecsey reports MLB has “given signals that the players are free to air their personal opinions during the All-Star celebration." Avila said that he “expected some of the many Latino players in the game to wear ribbons on their street clothes and to speak out against the bill” (N.Y. TIMES, 7/11). In an Op-Ed piece from today’s ARIZONA REPUBLIC, Avila writes, “We are asking fans, athletes and coaches to wear white ribbons in support of this cause” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/11).
About 2,000 tickets still remained as of late yesterday for tonight's MLB Home Run Derby at Chase Field in Phoenix, continuing a multiyear run in which the annual event has failed to sell out. Chase Field, with a capacity for this week's events of about 47,000, is the second-largest All-Star Game host ballpark in the past decade. A longer-than-normal sales run-up of nearly six months and heavily discounted prices relative to recent years still failed to sell out tonight's event. Unlike last year in Anaheim, however, D'Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall said yesterday a further last-minute price cut to move unsold inventory will not be employed. "It will look sold out and should get very close," he said. MLB's official ticket reseller, StubHub, had dozens of ticket listings late yesterday for the event at prices below the lowest face value mark of $60. The All-Star Game tomorrow has also seen its own erosion of demand on the secondary market. Average listing prices according to ticket data outfit TiqIq are $288 per seat, down from $440 a week ago. StubHub, as per MLB directive, has not been permitted to disclose MLB-related sales data this year, but below-face value listings for the All-Star Game are also readily available on that site. Meanwhile, MLBAM will stream the Home Run Derby live on Facebook, a first for a league jewel event. Located in an embeddable player at Facebook.com/MLB, the Derby will also be shown live at MLB.com and mobile devices through the At Bat app.