Texas governor boycotts first pitch after MLB moved All-Star game from Georgia over voting rights row

Texas Governor Greg Abbott boycotted throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for the Texas Rangers after MLB moved the All-Star game from Georgia over the voting rights row.

The Republican had been due to take part in the first game at the team’s new stadium on Monday but backed out amid ongoing conservative criticism of baseball bosses.

But Mr Abbott changed his mind and cited Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star game and draft out of Atlanta in response to Georgia’s new restrictive voting law.

“Major League Baseball adopted what has turned out to be a false narrative about the election law reforms in Georgia, and based on that false narrative, moved the MLB All-Star game from Atlanta,” Mr Abbott wrote in a letter to the Rangers.

“It is shameful that America’s pastime is not only being influenced by partisan political politics, but also perpetuating false political narratives.

“This decision does not diminish the deep respect I have for the Texas Rangers baseball organization, which is outstanding from top to bottom.”

Mr Abbott said he would also not participate in any event held by MLB, and that Texas will not seek to host the All-Star game or any other MLB special events.

The new law, recently signed by Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp, includes new identification requirements for absentee ballots, limits the use of drop boxes and criminalises giving voters in line water or food.

It has been harshly criticized by Joe Biden and resulted in a strong of lawsuits from civil rights groups.

Major businesses in the state have also added their voices to the widespread criticism of the law, introduced by Republicans after Mr Biden’s win in November and the loss of two US Senate seats in January.

The game between the Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays at Globe Life Field, which has a capacity of 40,518, is one of the first major events with full fan capacity since the start of the pandemic.

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