Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced last Friday that “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft” away from Atlanta. Apparently, Georgia’s new election law — whose net effect, The Post’s Fact Checker blog found, “was to expand the opportunities to vote for most Georgians, not limit them” — was such a violation of baseball’s values that the exhibition game could not be played there.

But apparently it wasn’t a violation of baseball’s values to hold an exhibition game in 2016 in Havana between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team. In an interview with ESPN during that game, Manfred exulted how Cuba is “a place where we would want to play regularly” and that “at a minimum” he’d like to start playing regular-season games in Havana, and eventually have an MLB team based on the communist island. “Baseball could be significant in terms of driving the economy and development here in Cuba,” he said.

It didn’t seem to bother Manfred that Cuba has long been home to one of the world’s most brutal and repressive dictatorships. He pulled MLB out of Georgia because he said that baseball “opposes restrictions to the ballot box.” Well, according to the State Department’s human rights report released last month, “Cuba remains a one-party system in which the Communist Party is the only legal political party,” voting is “neither free nor fair nor competitive” and “specialized units of the [Ministry of Interior’s] state security branch are responsible for monitoring, infiltrating, and suppressing independent political activity.” The regime engages in “extrajudicial killings by the government; forced disappearance by the government; torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of political dissidents, detainees, and prisoners by security forces; … [and] arbitrary arrests and detentions.”

Just two days before the 2016 game in Havana, hundreds of regime thugs attacked and arrested peaceful protesters known as the Ladies in White as they were leaving a Palm Sunday Mass. Raúl Castro’s secret police pounced on the women as they chanted “Freedom! Freedom!” and “half-dragged, half-carried them to waiting buses,” The Post reported. As the women were arrested, an organized pro-regime crowd hurled insults and chanted “This is Fidel’s street!” Indeed, the Cuban regime carried out 526 political detentions in the first two weeks of March leading up to the game. But Manfred did not cancel the game in protest. Apparently playing baseball in the Castro family’s tropical gulag is perfectly consistent with baseball’s “values as a sport.”

What else is consistent with baseball’s values? The same week that MLB decided to leave Georgia, the league also announced a deal with Tencent, the Communist Party-linked Chinese telecommunications firm, to broadcast MLB All-Star Games as well as spring training, regular season and playoff games in Asia through 2023. In 2019, Tencent blocked the streaming of all NBA games featuring the Houston Rockets after the team’s general manager expressed support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Tencent is also the owner of the WeChat app, which is helping the Communist regime build a vast repository of data about Chinese citizens that the State Department said in 2019 forms “a foundation of technology-facilitated surveillance and social control.” So under Manfred’s leadership, Major League Baseball is willing to get in bed with a regime that brutally suppresses freedom in Hong Kong and carries out genocide against Uyghur Muslims — including the use of Uyghur slave labor and the systematic rape and forced sterilization of Uyghur women — but refuses to play an All-Star Game in Georgia.

“It’s at the height of hypocrisy,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) told me in an interview. “The whole position on China with Major League Baseball … but also with MLB and their ties to Cuba. I mean, it makes an average Georgian who really doesn’t pay attention to politics much wonder what are they thinking? Why are they punishing us, yet they are going to have relationship with China where there are no elections, or if they are, it’s already predetermined who the winner’s going to be?”

Manfred’s decision was taken from a pinnacle of near-perfect ignorance about the Georgia law, which actually expands early voting, mandates the use of drop boxes for the first time, and expands the forms of acceptable voter identification to include not just photo ID but a utility bill, a bank statement, a government check or paycheck, or even the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number. These are far less stringent rules than some of those in Major League Baseball, which requires a photo ID to pick up will-call tickets.

But Manfred cannot plead ignorance when it comes to the human rights records of Communist China and Cuba. He is perfectly willing to punish the people of Georgia in a flagrant exercise of virtue signaling, while doing business with two of the most repressive totalitarian dictatorships on the face of the Earth.

2021, Washington Post

(9) comments

Donald

Oops! I neglected to answer Mr. Thiessen’s title question. Yes, MLB’s values are in line with those of the ChiCom corporatist system (and by “corporatist” I do not mean Mussolini’s concept of “corporatism”) in Italian fascism.

Donald

Treasury Secretary Yellen said in prepared remarks: “Competitiveness is about more than how U.S.-headquartered companies fare against other companies in global merger and acquisition bids,”.

Note that she said “U.S.-headquartered companies” – not “American” companies. She has inadvertently let slip how she and those who share her globalist mindset view companies which are often referred to as “US” or “American”. And, who can argue? Does anyone think Google is an American company? Facebook? GM? Exxon? Bank of America? American Airlines? Wall Street en mass? Walmart? MLB? Of course not. Their temporary loyalty is exclusively to where they see an emerging and expanding market. Their permanent loyalty is to transnational corporate world – not to any nation or People.

For those who may wonder why corporate CEOs and board members rarely if ever have anything bad to say about China, it is because they recognize China is a massive and growing market, and see the Chinese government as being corporate in structure but with direct and exclusive control of the State bayonet -- and that makes transnational corporations in the West very jealous. They want to emulate that structure globally for themselves if they can. For that to happen the Western model of governance based on individual rights/freedoms must basically die. That, Mr. Thiessen, is why there is such hatred from the ruling class for the concept of a US administration putting American People’s interests first, and why there was such an explosion of hatred for Mr. Trump and those who voted for him by what is currently referred to as the Deep State and its acolytes. That is why more than 4 years was spent in seeking to overthrow his presidency. That is why the ongoing propaganda against those who voted for him continues. So, you see Mr. Theissen, “human rights records” have nothing to do with it.

prodigalson

Excellent synopsis Donald. Excellent.

LVW

Wow, what a complicated theory for Trump's exit: corporate greed, deep state, death of the West, etc. Here is a simpler one: reasonable people opposed Trump because Trump didn't know what he was talking about and acted like a buffoon for four years (well, more than that, but four years in the job).

freeride

I'll take a so called buffoon (buffoons calling someone else a buffoon...how ironic) any day over an incoherent, lying, corrupt, senile, career dummy. Trump was not politically correct but he got the job done and no one can argue the fact he broke records trying to help America and its people. Biden has broke records doing just the opposite...destroying jobs, letting infected illegals enter the country, and lying about everything from Georgia voting laws to where he finished in a class at a college he never attended! Biden is truly an utter disgrace to the office he cheated to occupy!

prodigalson

Excellent post freeride. You hit the nail on the head.

newshound

Absolute touche’!

posumcop

Reasonable people opposed Trump?....ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

newshound

Trump is a genius next to dementia Joe lying Biden and airhead Harris. Only a crooked election funded by psychotic, woke & sick social media moguls. Your liberal democrats—all of them—need to be removed from US government and any job requiring clear thought and intelligence! Like MLB/NBA/NFL commissioners pandering to the left!!

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