The race-baiting politicians of Arizona are finding out that when you pick a fight with an entire race of people, you make few enemies with enough power to make you pay. It's the same lesson the businessmen of Atlanta learned 40 years ago when they decided to repackage themselves as "the city too busy to hate," because the Jim Crow South was just damn bad for business.
We'll see how long Arizona lasts with a "Hispanics not welcome" sign hanging on the state border. One thing is pretty clear: if the Arizona state legislature doesn't find a way to walk this back, the All-Star Game isn't going to be in Phoenix next year.
Miguel Batista's view on immigration law and baseball
Among Nationals players, reliever Miguel Batista is the most intimately connected to the players' union's denouncement of the recently passed immigration law in Arizona. Batista is an MLBPA board member who owns property in Arizona, where he once played for the Diamondbacks.
Batista, a 16-year veteran who is a native of the Dominican Republic, said today he could envision a scenario in which at least a partial boycott of the 2011 All-Star Game, scheduled to be held in Phoenix, plays out. He also said, "We know that, as a union, striking is the last resort. We always try to negotiate."
But Batista, a bright man who has written novels about crime and punishment, can see how not moving the 2011 All-Star Game from Arizona could provide complications.
"I'll give you an example," Batista said. "Let's say next year, the All-Star Game is in Arizona. ... You've got a guy like, let's say, Vladimir Guerrero. He can barely speak any English. They say, 'You've been invited to go to the All-Star Game.' He sends a letter to Bud Selig and says, 'I don't want to go to the All-Star Game. I don't want to take a chance to be arrested for walking down the street.' What can Bud Selig say? You can't tell a guy not to be afraid. If people want to see him in the All-Star Game, what's going to happen?"
Batista believes the union has a right to intercede in a political issue because the law could affect large numbers or foreign players.
"The law that has been proposed affects our members," Batista said. "It doesn't matter if it's political or not political. We're going to protect our members. We do it against the owners. We've done it against Congress in the past on labor rights. It's the same thing."