JUST PLAIN TALK: Sports, politics and economics clash with All-Star move

Buz Livingston
Buz Livingston

Don't get a bustle in your hedgerow over Major League Baseball's decision to move the 2021 All-Star game from Atlanta to Denver. It's not the first time an All-Star game relocated.

In 1960 a brash upstart, the American Football League, challenged the long-established National Football League by expanding into new markets and adding franchises in large metro areas. In 1964, the American Football League scheduled their All-Star game in New Orleans. On arrival, though, players were shocked at the Cresent City's harsh Jim Crow laws, written and unwritten. When told he had to take a "colored cab," Cookie Gilchrist said, "I don't care what color the taxi is. I just want to get to my hotel."

In response, both teams decided against playing the game in New Orleans and threatened to boycott. However, cooler heads prevailed and found nearby Houston ready to show itself as part of the New South. As a result, not only did Houston host the 1964 game, but the Bayou City also hosted the All-Star game the following year. The 1965 game's MVP was perhaps the best quarterback of the decade, Joe Willie Namath. Namath now recommends Medicare Advantage plans; I don't. 

The same year, professional basketball players threatened not to play the first nationally televised National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star game. Racism wasn't the issue but money. It's hard to imagine today, but then, few NBA games were broadcast nationwide. In the early '60s, professional athletes, outside of superstars, made pedestrian wages, and basketball players were the lowest paid. Jerry West described it as the "stone age of basketball." The player's union had lobbied for a pension, owner recognition, and schedule changes, but to no avail. Tom Heinsohn was the son of a union leader and had studied labor relations in college. Heinsohn got the teams on board for a wildcat strike. The players' intransigence delayed the broadcast, but the owners caved after television officials threatened to suspend future basketball telecasts. 

I wish MLB had kept the game in the ATL. With the game in Atlanta, the national spotlight would highlight Georgia's election law rejiggering. Everyone talks about water bottles and voter identification, but the legislation's most odious feature allows the Georgia Legislature to suspend county election officials. It is not who votes but who counts the votes. The law threatens American democracy, and prosperity comes from democracy. If you value your 401K and IRA, hope democracy stays strong. 

You can't always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP, can help you figure out what you need. For specific advice, visit livingstonfinancial.net or drop by 2050 West County Highway 30A, M1 Suite 230.