MLB can honor Negro Leagues by moving All-Star game to Kansas City
To commemorate a game-changing century, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was preparing to have a “game-changing” year in 2020.
That’s how Bob Kendrick, president of the Kansas City-based museum, explained it — a year-long long event of the Negro Leagues’ 100th anniversary that was to include occasions in ballparks throughout the nation, in front of fans throughout the sport, however would constantly be focused in Kansas City, where the very first authorities Negro League was established a century previously.
“We were off and running, we were off to a flying start,” Kendrick stated, speaking from his workplace throughout the summer season. “Then, just like that, everything comes to a screeching halt.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, naturally, was to blame, interfering with not just the 2020 Big league Baseball season however all the centennial event occasions the Negro Leagues Museum was preparing to stage around it.
“A year of planning and anticipating had to be extinguished almost in the blink of an eye,” Kendrick stated. “It was going to be a game-changer for the museum, in terms of the platform, the national and international platform that the celebration was going to create.”
Possibly, one year and countless COVID-19 vaccinations later on, that event can still occur.
Maybe Kansas City need to host the transferred 2021 All-Star Video game.
With MLB now trying to find a brand-new website to host the Midsummer Timeless, which the league eliminated on Friday from Atlanta after Georgia passed a questionable brand-new ballot law that civil liberties groups fear will limit voting access to individuals of color, couple of markets provide a chance as unique as Kansas City.
Simply envision, a whole week at Kauffman Arena throughout which the history of the Negro Leagues is included front-and-center.
Image the clients, getting here across the country, flooding a Negro Leagues Museum that, in its early days, just made it through with the financial backing of previous Negro League gamers themselves cutting checks to cover the lease.
Think about the effect, both on the long-term development of the museum, and of the message MLB might send out — the method it might take an unsightly story and make it an effective one.
“We didn’t want this celebration to be watered down,” Kendrick stated in June 2020, when COVID-19 policies required the museum to shut its doors.
“I didn’t want to do celebrations in ballparks where there were no people in the stadium. That seemed to be doing a disservice to the magnitude of what this story is all about — both on and off the field.”
Wouldn’t it be cool if MLB now chose to provide the museum — and the Negro Leagues’ essential and prominent history on the sport and the nation — among its greatest platforms of all? If it supplied an online forum for all those canceled events to be rescheduled under a nationwide spotlight?
“Count me and [Kendrick] in to help in any way!” Kiona Sinks, neighborhood engagement and digital technique supervisor of the Negro Leagues Museum, tweeted on Friday in reaction to the concept. “We have hosted the All-Star Game in 2012 before so it would be awesome to have [it] back in KC!”
There is a significant caution: Missouri’s state legislature is considering its own questionable ballot law that, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, would need image IDs and produce other constraints critics fear disproportionately impact individuals of color and other marginalized neighborhoods. If that passes, then MLB would likely need to look towards among the progressively couple of states that hasn’t attempted pressing through ballot constraints this year.
Yet, Kansas City supplies an indisputable chance, too, a possibility to produce in 2021 what couldn’t be performed in 2020. Think of it, Rob Manfred. There’s a century-long tradition to think about.
This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Times.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.