Los D-Backs and Other Immigration Tales

Cinco de Mayo, the mere mention of that brings out visions of Mexican food and lavish parties throughout many parts of the United States. The actual Cinco de Mayo holiday commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over the French soldiers during the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday except in the state of Puebla. That didn’t seem to hinder Americans from latching onto the holiday as a justification to party. Today in the United States Cinco de Mayo has become a day to celebrate Mexican history and heritage.

This day has gained new meaning in the state of Arizona. After approving controversial bill SB 1070, Arizona has become the center of national attention as they attempt to curb the influx of illegal immigrants and the crime that has accompanied many of them.

Opponents of the bill decry Arizona has just legalized racial profiling and fear police will use this law as a way to ignore an individual’s rights and in fact boldly disregards the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence where he penned that “all men are created equally”.

Arizona as well as other border states has been waiting patiently for the federal government to come up with a solution but could not wait any longer and felt compelled to take a stand.

The law is very controversial with both sides passionate in their points of view. This is clearly a political hot button with emotions boiling over. While I may not agree with the law’s methods I can appreciate their motives. The point is, this is a political issue that should be conducted in the legislature and the court system.

For some odd reason, this has become a sports issue. Throughout the recent road trip the Arizona Diamondbacks found themselves embroiled in the controversy. Outside the Coors Field, Wrigley Field, and Minute Maid Park were protesters calling for a boycott of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I am not quite sure when the Diamondbacks became the poster child for immigration reform. The team is likewise confused as to why they have been singled out on this issue. The Diamondbacks have taken the high road and not allowed this mis-guided protest to become personal.

Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick released a statement stating the team’s desire for immigration reform to be taken up by the federal government to resolve the issue. Aside from this statement the team has attempted to remain neutral on the subject.

Knee-jerk reactions are running rampant with some requesting baseball commissioner weigh in and take away the 2011 All-Star game. Conspiracy theorists are attempting to lay the blame for the SB 1070 fiasco on Kendrick because he donated money to the state’s Republican Party for re-election of some state officials. In all cases, it has been a stretch to connect the baseball team to the passage of an immigration bill.

Unlike their baseball counterparts, the Phoenix Suns did take a stand choosing to wear “Los Suns” jerseys during their play-off game against the San Antonio Spurs. Half their fan base applauded their decision while the other half lambasted the decision as grandstanding and politicizing sports.

While I would love to see the Arizona Diamondbacks wear their “Los D-Backs” jersey to recognize and support Mexican heritage and pride, the timing of SB 1070 makes it impossible for the team to do that without sending a political message that will alienate their fan base.

I remember a time when sports and baseball were a sanctuary away from the insanity of politics and long for a return to that era. It’s not that I don’t believe immigration reform is important, I just can’t see where sports belong in the center of that controversy.


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