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Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweets that Chicago would welcome MLB All-Star Game

Chicago Tribune

Monday, April 5, 2021  |  Article  |  Jenny Whidden

Pritzker, J.B.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a tweet that Chicago would welcome Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game following the league’s decision to move the July 13 event out of Atlanta because of Georgia’s new law that has raised concerns about voting access.

 

Pritzker applauded MLB’s decision and pointed to legislation he signed Friday, which made secure ballot drop boxes and curbside voting permanent in Illinois. The voting avenues were approved by the legislature last year in response to the pandemic, but the changes expired in November.

 

“In Illinois, we just expanded voting access because we want everyone who is eligible to vote to have their voice heard,” Pritzker said in a tweet Friday. “Our baseball stadiums are among the most storied in the world. We would welcome the All-Star Game safely and enthusiastically.”

 

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a question about whether Pritzker’s overture to MLB went beyond his tweet.

 

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement on Friday the league is currently finalizing a new host city, and details will be “announced shortly.”

 

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” Manfred said Friday. “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB draft.”

 

Pritzker’s tweet did not say anything about which of Chicago’s ballparks would host the event. The city has not hosted the All-Star Game since 2003, when the game was at what was then U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox.

 

Tribune columnist Paul Sullivan wrote over the weekend that several teams have let MLB know of their interest in having the game, including the Cubs.

 

The Cubs and Wrigley Field carry their own political baggage given the racist tweets of Ricketts family patriarch Joe Ricketts. Todd Ricketts, one of the siblings that owns the team, was a leading fundraiser for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Another sibling, Laura Ricketts, is an outspoken progressive Democrat, and she and her brother Tom have supported protests against social injustice.