FIRST ON FOX: A pair of Peach State lawmakers called on Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Robert Manfred, Jr., to "redress the harm" caused by the league pulling its 2021 All-Star Game from Georgia.
Republican Reps. Buddy Carter and Barry Loudermilk of Georgia sent the letter to Manfred lambasting the commissioner over the league’s decision to move last year’s All-Star Game over the state's recent election integrity law.
"America’s favorite pastime is an unfortunate casualty of the leftist mob," Carter told FOX Business in a statement. "The MLB openly spread falsehoods about the Georgia voter integrity law, but now that they have been proven wrong, the organization is eerily silent."
"It’s time for the MLB to right this wrong," Carter continued. "They went woke and do not care if small businesses across Georgia, many minority-owned, go broke."
The letter to Manfred inquired on how the "MLB will redress the harm caused to the state of Georgia by moving the 2021 MLB All-Star Game out of Georgia in reaction to baseless attacks on the state’s Election Integrity Act."
Carter and Loudermilk wrote that the "May 2022 primary elections were the first state-wide elections held in Georgia" since the bill’s enactment and that despite "false allegations that it was a racist law designed to suppress voter turnout, with President Biden himself deeming it ‘Jim Crow 2.0,’ these elections actually saw a record turnout."
"According to Georgia’s Secretary of State, more than 850,000 Georgians cast a ballot in person or returned an absentee ballot," the lawmakers wrote. "Compared to early-voting turnout in recent primaries, this voter turnout represented a 168% increase over the 2018 election, which was the last gubernatorial primary."
"In fact, the primary turnout represents a 212% percent jump above the last presidential primary year in 2020 where increased turnout is typical," they continued. "Finally, Black voters cast even more early vote ballots during this year’s primary election than in 2018, which proves that election security increases the public’s faith in elections and makes all Americans more likely to vote."
The Republicans blasted the Democrats, Biden, and "the woke mob" for lying about Georgia’s election integrity bill and pointed to the provisions in the law that expand access to voting in the Peach State.
They also pointed out that Georgia "has more early voting days and does not require an excuse to vote absentee" like New York does, where the MLB is headquartered.
"Based on these facts and the lack of any specific criticism in your statements, it is evident that you either did not fully review the text of the Election Integrity Act or willfully mischaracterized the law," Carter and Loudermilk wrote. "This carelessness contributed to the further politicization of sports – America’s ‘pastime’ that has long served as a unifying force– and harmed Georgians."
"It is estimated that moving the game from the state cost local businesses, many of which are minority-owned businesses and faced significant hardship recovering from the pandemic, more than $100 million," they continued.
The Peach State lawmakers wrote the Atlanta Braves "ultimately overcame this politicization" and won the 2021 World Series pennant but expressed their sadness that the "MLB fell victim to the lies spread about what our state law truly does and were bullied into moving the All-Star game out of Georgia."
"Any voter suppression claims have been thoroughly debunked, yet your organization has failed to take any responsibility for the damage your mischaracterizations caused," Carter and Loudermilk wrote.
Carter and Loudermilk included several questions for Manfred to answer, including when the All-Star Game will return to Atlanta and if the commissioner will "commit to thoroughly examining future legislation and policy proposals and engaging with lawmakers before making similarly impactful moves in the future."
"In your statement last year announcing that MLB would move the game from Atlanta to Denver, Colorado, you said ‘Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box…Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.’"
"As the elected representatives of Georgia, we wholeheartedly agree with those words. Your organization, on the other hand, violated those beliefs, perpetuating a false narrative that invalidated the legitimate election integrity concerns of thousands of Georgians."
The Republican lawmakers torched the MLB for allowing "the liberal mob dictate business decisions in a shameful and despicable manner" and called it "shameful that [the] MLB caved to cancel culture and punished the residents and business owners of Georgia."
"This decision by the MLB was predicated on a lie – it is only right for you to make amends," Carter and Loudermilk wrote, calling the All-Star Game move "an attack on both our state and true voter integrity."
According to experts, the push by the left to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta cost the city an estimated $70 million or more last year alone.
"My guess from the experts I've heard…is $70 million," said Roger Dow, president CEO of the U.S. Travel Association in July 2021. "But here's the thing that people don't count on – it's the exposure that you get from media, of having the game on, and people doing the pre-shows, and all that."
That amounts to not only free televised publicity, he said, but people who traveled to the game from other states might enjoy the city and want to come back in the future.
"I think that's the big loss, much bigger than the $70 million," he said.
The MLB did not respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
FOX Business’ Michael Ruiz and Andrew Murray contributed reporting.