The outrage over Arizona's new immigration law has led to demonstrations and boycotts throughout the country, and today those opposed to the law will gather at Wrigley Field.
As of Thursday morning, 790 people said they planned to attend a protest outside of Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs take on the Arizona Diamondbacks Thursday afternoon, according to a Facebook event page for the protest.
"We are going to give the Arizona Diamondbacks a message to send back home," the event's organizers wrote on the page.
The demonstrators plan on bringing posters and marching, as well as handing out fliers to baseball fans that detail their opposition to the new law, according to the page. The group also asks anyone attending the game to wave posters condemning the law.
"AMERICA, there is no doubt about it; the Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the top contributors to the Republican machine in Arizona that have unanimously voted for the draconian Arizona State Proposition SB1070," La Nueva Raza reports. "This bill will encourage the open racial profiling of 'brown people' in a state that has already been racially profiling immigrants for years beginning in the early 2000s when Sheriff Dever and his wife allowed and oftentimes encouraged Arizonan ranchers to 'hunt down' border crossers in Cochise County."
These protesters aren't the only ones bringing Major League Baseball into the immigration debate. Some are calling for MLB to move the 2011 All Star game out of the state, and Billy Weinberg, former press secretary for outspoken immigrants rights advocate Rep. Luis Gutierrez, discussed the MLB/Arizona connection in a blog for the Huffington Post:
Let's try this exercise, Cubs fans. Imagine that pitcher Ryan Dempster and catcher Geovany Soto are walking down the street in Mesa. Which of the pair is more likely to be asked to show his papers? Dempster, an immigrant from Canada? Or Soto, who was born in Puerto Rico and, therefore, has been a U.S. citizen since birth? My money's on the police leaving Dempster alone, despite his tell-tale "North of the Border" accent.
Weinberg also discussed how much money Arizona makes from baseball spring training.
"It is not a leap of faith to imagine how Major League Baseball could, if it so desired, use its economic leverage to help the people of Arizona decide whether it is ultimately worth keeping this law on the books," Weinberg wrote.
The Arizona Republic reports that "in just about every city" the Diamondbacks visit, they can expect a protest outside the stadium over Arizona's new law. With that, the team is trying to distance itself from the law. The Diamondbacks' vice president for communications, Shaun Rachau, sent the paper a statement:
"Although D-backs' Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick has donated to Republican political candidates in the past, the organization has communicated to Boycott Arizona 2010 leader Tony Herrera that Kendrick personally opposes (Senate) Bill 1070. The team also explained that Kendrick is one of nearly 75 owners of the D-backs and none of his, nor do the other owners', personal contributions reflect organizational preferences. The D-backs have never supported (Senate) Bill 1070, nor has the team ever taken a political stance or position on any legislation."
Herrara, leader of the "Boycott Arizona 2010" campaign, stands by his stance on the team, saying that Kendrick's support of state Republicans is "significant."
In their own stadium, the team was being warned to "look out for 'flying objects' from the field," according to Arizona Republic writer E. J. Montini.
"If the team had been paying attention, it would have seen this ball coming," Montini wrote.
The protesters at Wrigley are expected to gather outside the ballpark around Noon, and organizers added an additional note to the event's listing: "LET'S MAKE SURE THE CUBS WIN THIS GAME!"