ATLANTA — One of Georgia's most influential lawmakers is calling on the MLB to bring a future All-Star game to the state -- especially after the event was pulled in 2021.
In a letter sent to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston demand the game be played in Cobb County.
"I call on you to award a future MLB All-Star Game to be played at Truist Park in the coming years. The sooner this announcement is made, the quicker we can all put this unfortunate incident behind us," Ralson said.
In 2021, MLB moved its All-Star game to Denver. At the time, Manfred announced the decision followed by extensive discussions with clubs, players, the Players Association, and others regarding voting rights and recent developments in Georgia.
Those recent developments involved Georgia's Election Integrity Act, also known as SB 202 being passed by state lawmakers.
Leading up to and after the passage of SB 202, critics said it would disenfranchise many of the state's voters.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box," Manfred stated when announcing the decision to move the game. "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."
A year later Ralston notes in his letter that the upcoming MLB All-Star Game in Los Angeles took him back to 2021 and that the league, "unjustly deprived the State of Georgia of the opportunity," to host the game.
Ralston mentions how the decision to move the game was based on claims made against SB 202.
The Republican lawmaker specifically names President Joe Biden and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as people who made such claims. He cites the Wall Street Journal writing Biden's claims were "malarkey."
"Time has proven that the bill did increase accessibility and security," Ralston said Friday during an interview with 11Alive. "We had record turnout in the primary in May, so the reasons that they used to pull the game out of Atlanta just had no basis in truth."
Ralston also mentions estimates of $100 million in economic impact being lost by moving the game in 2021. That figure though has been questioned by local economists who said an All-Star game would have a much smaller impact and perhaps less than $5 million was lost.
11Alive's sister station KUSA in Denver looked at the impact the game eventually had on its city and the same $100 million figure was thrown around by politicians in Colorado, but it appears the game by itself didn't provide that big of an economic boom.
Ralston on Friday though said economic impact is only one reason to host the game. Another reason is to simply have the event in Georgia so families can benefit.
"Putting aside the economic impact, we deprived Georgia kids of the opportunity of seeing one of the great sporting events in the country each year," Ralston said. "I remember sitting in the upper right field deck at old (Atlanta) Fulton County Stadium when the All-Star game first came to Atlanta back in the '60s and I can tell you many, many things about that game that I remember and we took that away from kids."
11Alive contacted Major League Baseball Friday to confirm if Manfred had received Ralston's letter and if he had any comment to provide. MLB hasn't responded.