The decision comes following the passage of Georgia law S.B. 202, which many — including President Joe Biden — say will restrict voting access for residents of the Peach State.
“I absolutely agree with the decision,” Servais said before Friday’s game against the Giants at T-Mobile Park. “Major League Baseball is doing the right thing.
“Certainly, people are free to have their opinions on it. But with everything that’s gone on in our country — and I think people know how I feel about certain things — obviously, the ability to vote and how important that is for the future of our country, for everybody to get equal rights, that’s really, really important to me.
“I was glad by what I’ve seen and heard, the decisions that were made there to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia.”
Throughout the 2020 season, Servais regularly voiced his belief in the importance of voting to Mariners players behind the scenes and in his media sessions every day. Servais wore a T-shirt that read “VOTE” in each of his pregame briefings with reporters over the shortened 60-game season, other than on Opening Day, when he wore a shirt supporting Black Lives Matter.
The 2021 All-Star Game will still take place on July 13, but a replacement site hasn’t been finalized. The Draft was moved back from June to be held in conjunction with the Midsummer Classic festivities, so that event will also be relocated to the new site. MLB still plans to honor Braves legend Hank Aaron as part of this year’s event. Aaron, who passed away in Atlanta on Jan. 22, spent 21 seasons with the club, including nine after it relocated to Georgia in 1966.
Below is the full statement released on Friday from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred:
“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views. I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.
“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.
“We will continue with our plans to celebrate the memory of Hank Aaron during this season’s All-Star festivities. In addition, MLB’s planned investments to support local communities in Atlanta as part of our All-Star Legacy Projects will move forward. We are finalizing a new host city and details about these events will be announced shortly.”