Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

Let’s Go Braves

Rob Manfred handing the Commissioner's Trophy to Atlanta would provide the taste of sweet, petty justice the way only sports can.

Baseball is a game best summed up by Yogi Berra’s famous lines—Yogisms. Any true baseball fan can recount a couple of them, and most Americans can recite a few without even knowing the source. As a known baseball hater, Commissioner Rob Manfred can’t recount any of them. If he could, he would know that “it ain’t over till it’s over.” 

Manfred ignited a media storm earlier this year when he perverted his role in baseball and entered the usually apolitical MLB into the election integrity debate. After Governor Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 202 into Georgia law, the MLB moved the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver, Colorado. The move was stunning and elicited a ferocious backlash from Atlanta locals counting on the economic payoff associated with the annual game. Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S Travel Association, estimated it cost Atlanta businesses nearly $70 million in lost tourism revenue. Some estimates placed the cost as high as $100 million.

Regardless, the cost was enormous and even caused resident voting rights hack Stacey Abrams to eat her words and express her disappointment in the MLB’s decision to heed her racial demagoguery. At the time, there was much hand-wringing over the MLB’s evident hypocrisy. The Georgia voting-integrity bill featured regulations that were not only standard, but nearly identical compared to the laws in the MLB’s replacement in blue Colorado. Politics, not justice, drove the decision to move the game. But Commissioner Manfred got his pat on the back from President Biden and the praetorian journalists at ESPN. He was surely pleased, and after a week of culture warring, the controversy faded from the news cycle. 

Baseball, however, is a game that marks the time. When America rolls by like an army of steamrollers, baseball reminds us of all that was once good and could be again. So, with the Braves set to battle for the National League Championship, let’s cheer for a good reminder. Game One of the NLCS is set for Saturday in Atlanta. Rob Manfred stole from Atlanta during the regular season. In October, the Braves can repay him ten times over by defeating liberal Los Angeles’ Dodgers and advance to the World Series. 

Forcing Rob Manfred to stand on Atlanta’s field and hand the Commissioner’s Trophy to the Braves in front of a frenzied Georgia crowd would provide the taste of sweet, petty justice the way only sports can. Writing this, I can’t help but have a sly grin thinking of the commissioner squirming as the fans let off a defiantly politically incorrect tomahawk chop. We can only hope for an additional chorus of boos and a stadium-wide “let’s go Brandon” chant.

In a nation where political recourse is hard to come by for the average American, humiliating a progressive elite on national television for his reckless political activism is a chance too good to pass up. So, at least for the next few weeks, I’m a Braves fan. Conservatives and Americans fed up with the politicization of our cultural institutions ought to be as well.