Monday, July 12, 2010

Brewers' Gallardo annouces he will boycott All-Stars in Arizona Over Law

Yovani Gallardo is an All Star, the ace of the Brewers' staff.

Today he proved he's an All Star outside the white lines when he unleashed a fastball at Arizona's new immigration law that institutionalizes racial profiling.

''If the game is in Arizona, I will totally boycott,'' the Milwaukee Brewers pitcher said Monday.
A year before Phoenix is set to host baseball's big event, the state's new immigration law kept drawing the attention of major leaguers.

Tampa Bay reliever Joakim Soria said he would support a Latino protest and stay away. Detroit closer Jose Valverde can see himself steering clear, too.

''It's a really delicate issue,'' said Toronto outfielder Jose Bautista, who leads the majors with 24 home runs. ''Hopefully, there are some changes in the law before then. We have to back up our Latin communities.''

''If I do get chosen, I don't know what I'm going to do,'' he said.

27.7% of Major League Baseball players are Latino. Almost 50% of minor league ball players are.

About three dozen protesters held signs Monday one block from the hotel where Major League Baseball held its welcoming news conferences. The demonstrators said they had over 100,000 petitions solicited by Change the Game asking commissioner Bud Selig to move the 2011 All-Star game out of Arizona.

Another protest was planned outside Angel Stadium before Tuesday night's game.
Selig has not spoken directly on the subject. Asked in May about calls to shift next year's game, he gave a defense of baseball's minority hiring record. Selig did not take questions at Monday's All-Star introductory event.

Arizona's much-debated measure takes effect July 29. The statute requires police, while enforcing other laws, to ask about a person's immigration status if there is reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

''They could stop me and ask to see my papers,'' Soria said. ''I have to stand with my Latin community on this.''

The Mexican-born Gallardo said he's talked with Soria and All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez about the Arizona law.

''We don't agree with it,'' Gallardo said. St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols said he opposed the law and Valverde called it ''dumb.''

Several All-Stars, proving they are anything but, avoided the topic.

''That's a political thing,'' New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano said.''I don't have anything to say about it. They already made a decision. If I say anything it's not going to make any difference.''

''Wrong guy,'' teammate Alex Rodriguez who manipulated his way to the Yankees and the largest contract in Major League Baseball history, said, pointing to other players in the interview room.

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal said he would wait for guidance from the players' union.

''The game is going on at this point, regardless,'' said former All-Star Tony Clark, who played for Arizona last season and now works for the union. ''Whatever decision an individual player makes, they would have the full support of the union.''

The union has already condemned the law and said that if it is not repealed or modified additional steps would be considered.

Oakland closer Andrew Bailey, whose team holds spring training in Phoenix, said his sport was caught in a crossfire.

''The Arizona Diamondbacks and Major League Baseball had nothing to do with making the Arizona immigration laws,'' he said. ''I know there are discrepancies. Hopefully, things can get resolved.''

Major League Baseball has a choice. It can move the game

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