MILWAUKEE - Major League Baseball is looking for a new location for this summer's All-Star Game, announcing Friday, April 2 that it was pulling out of Atlanta following a sweeping and controversial rewrite of Georgia's election laws.
Milwaukee leaders are already pitching the city as a replacement venue in light of MLB's decision. The way Mayor Tom Barrett sees it, American Family Field is a home run to host the mid-summer classic.
Two days into the season and it is dreams not of October baseball at American Family Field, but of mid-July -- July 13 to be exact -- for Barrett.
"It makes sense, it’s such a natural fit to have the game here, the year they’re paying tribute to Hank Aaron," said Barrett. "When the decision was announced, within hours we contacted the commissioner’s office."
The 2021 game will honor the legacy of late Hall of Famer and former home run champion Henry "Hank" Aaron, who died in January at age 86.
One of the best to play the game, Aaron started his Hall of Fame career with the Milwaukee Braves, continuing it in Atlanta, before returning and finishing his career with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Henry "Hank" Aaron with the Milwaukee Braves
The circular journey of the slugger's 23-year career is part of Barrett's pitch for hosting this year's All-Star game, saying in a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Mandred on Friday:
"The City of Milwaukee would be honored to host the All Star Game, and you would have the full support of my office to make the festivities a success."
Barrett said he agreed with Manfred's decision to pull out of Atlanta, which was also to host the draft, after Georgia's Republican-controlled state legislature and governor passed and signed into law a sweeping and controversial overhaul of the state's election laws. Critics liken those changes to Jim Crow-era voting rights restrictions.
Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Supporters say the changes ensure election integrity and stamp out potential fraud. A federal lawsuit has already been filed, arguing the law is a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
Manfred said the best way MLB can demonstrate its values of supporting voting rights for all Americans is to relocate, saying "fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support" and that MLB is "finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly."
The All-Star Game is a huge event but would come with many questions for how to hold it in a ballpark that currently has no tailgating and is limited to 25% capacity.
Barrett said he believes it can be done here in Milwaukee, as there is little lead time needed. However, no matter what happens, Barrett said science will dictate how things move forward if Milwaukee is chosen.
"If you look at all the logical decision-making points, Milwaukee makes a lot of sense," Barrett said.
American Family Field
Brewers fan Slater Lemley had no clue the game was on the move and, obviously, would welcome Milwaukee playing host -- especially in a year Aaron's career and legacy is to be honored.
"Honestly, I love it. Milwaukee hasn’t seen an All-Star Game in a long, long time," said Lemley. "The NBA took a lot of action this past season. I think the MLB taking it is a good precedent to set."
The last time Milwaukee held the All-Star game was in 2002. The game, infamously, ended in a tie, with boos reigning down from the crowd.
Right now, the question of where the mid-summer will end up, like a fly ball, is up in the air. Where it lands is anyone's guess.