All-Star Boycott Coming? Baseball Players Lash Out at Arizona Immigration Law

St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols hits a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Friday, July 10, 2009, at Wrigley Field in Chicago. AP

St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols hits a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Friday, July 10, 2009, at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
AP

With the All-Star Game set for tonight in Anaheim, opponents of Arizona's controversial immigration law are spotlighting comments from Major League Baseball players opposing the law - including some who says they would boycott next year's All Star game in Phoenix over the legislation.

"I'm opposed to it. How are you going to tell me that, me being Hispanic, if you stop me and I don't have my ID, you're going to arrest me? That can't be," St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols told USA Today.

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Valverde told the Arizona Republic the law is "the stupidest thing you can ever have."

"Nothing against Americans, but us Latinos have contributed so much to this country," Valverde said. "We get our hands dirty and do the work gringos don't want to do. We're the ones out there cleaning the streets. Americans don't want to do that stuff. "

Another All-Star, Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo, added, "If the game is in Arizona, I will totally boycott."

Here's the San Diego Padres' Jerry Hairston Jr., speaking to ESPN: "It reminds me of seeing the old movies with the Nazis when they ask you to show your papers. It's not right. I can't imagine my mom -- who's been a U.S. citizen longer than I've been alive, who was born and raised in Mexico -- being asked to show her papers. I can't imagine that happening. So it kind of hits home for me."

And Padres catcher Yorvit Torrealba, on next year's game: "I think they should move [the game], because it's going to be a lot of Latin players in the All-Star Game. I guarantee you they want to take their families. In my mind, I would be like, 'I wonder if my family is all right here?' That's why they should move it; that way nobody has to worry about that stuff."

"If I'm voted [into the All-Star team] I'm going to have to really think about [playing], because I have a lot of friends that are not white," added teammate Heath Bell. "Sometimes you need to stick up for your friends and family."

While many baseball players don't much like the Arizona law, polls have shown that a majority of Americans support the measure. A new poll out of Pennsylvania shows that voters in that state "approve 52 - 27 percent of the Arizona law and by 60 - 27 percent they think the Obama Administration's lawsuit to block its implementation is a bad idea."

The Republic reports that a small group of protesters, armed with a petition with more than 100,000 signatures, called on Commissioner Bud Selig to move the All Star game over the immigration measure -- something he is unlikely to do. There have also been calls for baseball to move its Cactus League Spring Training games out of Arizona.

In May, the Phoenix Suns basketball team wore "Los Suns" jerseys "to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona, and our nation" in response to the law. 


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