Thursday, May 6, 2010

Opinion: MLB should pressure Arizona on immigration law

BOSTON — Ozzie Guillen, the manager of the Chicago White Sox, is a decided counterpoint to baseball’s more reticent field generals. Guillen, the first Latin-born manager to win a World Series, is willing to make pronouncements on subjects a little more complex than why he used a pinch hitter or switched pitchers in the sixth inning.

Guillen, a Venezuelan who is now a U.S. citizen, is a relentless communicator, even tweeting in both Spanish and English. When he avoids profane rants and the occasional mangling of his second language, he can make an awful lot of sense. And now Guillen has become the first prominent figure in Major League Baseball to declare that if asked to partake in the 2011 All-Star Game next season, he will decline the prestigious invite.

That may seem a rather distant affair and one might think Guillen, whose ballclub is off to a rocky start in 2010, might have more pressing concerns than an exhibition game that is still 14 months away. But the 2011 game is scheduled for Phoenix and, in the wake of Arizona’s new immigration legislation that many believe is a racist attack on Hispanics, Guillen regards nothing in baseball as quite as pressing. The Arizona law criminalizes the failure to carry immigration documents and grants police broad powers to detain suspected illegal immigrants.

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