Will The 2011 All-Star Game Be Pulled From Arizona?

"Signs point to yes," says my Magic 8-Baseball, with the banner promoting the event at Chase Field no longer present at the ballpark, and Senator Robert Menendez calling on Major League Baseball players today to boycott the game in Phoenix. [I note, with some irony, that Menendez is the sole Latino in the Senate]

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The reason, of course, is the immigration law passed in Arizona, which has dragged the Diamondbacks in, due to managing general partner Ken Kendrick's financial support for Republican lawmakers. The team quickly sought to distance itself from the matter, president Derrick Hall saying, "The organization doesn't take political position... It would be unfair and unjust for us to even take a position because it can't be reflective upon everybody's views."

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But that was not enough to stop protests at D-backs games, both on the road and at home. And then there is a report today, saying that, during a game later this month, Kendrick will be holding a private fundraiser in his owners box at Chase for State Senator Jonathan Paton, a bill supporter who is looking to run for Congress.

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If true, it's hard - even for an Arizona fan like myself - to fully reconcile that and Hall's avowed political neutrality. While the "private box" could technically insulate the D-backs from the event, it's a distinction one senses many people will be unlikely to make, and is bound to add to the pressure on Bud Selig to shift the game to a less-volatile location.

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[Update] A press release from the D-backs says:

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“Mr. Paton’s campaign paid for and leased the ‘press suite’ to hold his event in on May 20 to assist with his Congressional campaign to represent Southern Arizona. Furthermore, Kendrick will not be at the game because he will be attending his children’s school graduation but he did allow the campaign to use his name as one of the hosts for the event. Kendrick only began supporting Mr. Paton after his announcement to run for Congress and has never contributed to any politicians currently serving in the State Legislature. He stands by his statement that he opposes Senate Bill 1070 and would like for the federal government to address the issue of illegal immigration.”

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