Protests over Arizona's harsh new anti-immigrant bill have spread far beyond its borders, and are hitting the Grand Canyon state through an unexpected source: Baseball.
Following Saturday's march of 7,000 people in Houston protesting the law, the League of United Latin American Citizens along with 13 other groups is calling for a boycott of the Astros game on Wednesday versus the Arizona Diamondbacks. Whether protestors outside Minute Maid Park will accompany the boycott is unclear.
If attendance falls, the cause may well be a slumping Astros team (has the United Latin American Citizens noticed how few souls are going to Astros games anyway?) and Cinco de Mayo festivities as much as the boycott.
But Houston baseball fans won't be the first to express their opinion on Arizona's law. Demonstrators have already greeted the Diamondbacks at Denver's Coors Field and at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
“We kind of expected it,” Arizona manager A. J. Hinch told The New York Times. “Major League Baseball has a highly visible national profile, and we travel, so as far as representing the state goes, we’re a pretty obvious target.”
With 30 percent of Major League players identifying as Latino, there may be other negative fallout for Arizona. There has been talk of some teams moving their spring training bases from the state, and officials from San Francisco and New York are already urging the league to move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Phoenix.