LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — MLB Moves All-Star Game, Draft From Atlanta Following New Voting Law

The move was announced in a statement from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred that read, “Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. 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.”

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He continued, “Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.

“We will continue with our plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron during this season’s All-Star festivities. In addition, MLB’s planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects will move forward. We are finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.”

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Angels kicked off the season against the Chicago White Sox.

The game marked the Southland’s first major sporting event with fans in attendance in more than a year.

It was also the first time Angel Stadium has had fans for a regular-season baseball game since Sept. 29, 2019.

Orange County on Wednesday moved into the orange tier of the state’s COVID-19 reopening blueprint, allowing 33% capacity at outdoor sporting events.

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That means that the approximately 45,000-seat Angel Stadium can have up to 15,000 fans.

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Since perennial all-star Mike Trout made his debut with the Angels in 2011, the team has reached the playoffs once — in 2014, when they were swept by the Kansas City Royals in an American League Division Series.

Hopes for a playoff berth increased last season when the playoff field for each league was expanded by three to eight teams. However, the Angels again missed the playoffs, finishing the coronavirus-shortened season with a 26-34 record, matching Kansas City for the 10th-best record in the 15-team league.

The Angels will celebrate their 60th anniversary as a franchise in 2021. The diamond anniversary will be recognized with a 60th anniversary patch affixed to the left side of Angels hats, baseballs will feature the 60th anniversary logo and commemorative base jewels will be used at Angel Stadium.

Last September, the Anaheim City Council approved a finalized deal to sell Angel Stadium to the team’s owner for $150 million in cash, in exchange for a commitment to keep the team in Anaheim through at least 2050.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)