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Rays’ Collin McHugh talks Georgia voting law, All-Star Game shift

He says his home state’s new law that restricts voting options is “disappointing” but doesn’t think moving the game is necessarily the right reply.
Rays reliever Collin McHugh discusses the new Georgia voting law among other subjects during an interview Sunday.
Rays reliever Collin McHugh discusses the new Georgia voting law among other subjects during an interview Sunday. [ Times ]
Published Mar. 29, 2021|Updated Mar. 29, 2021

Rays reliever Collin McHugh is willing to share his thoughts on many topics, such as players union business matters and the benefits of COVID-19 vaccinations for players.

On Sunday he delivered an impassioned reply when asked about the new election law in his home state of Georgia that, among other things, restricts voting options and access. He also addressed the possibility of Major League Baseball moving this year’s All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest the new law.

“Being able to see what happens when an entire state, an entire population of an extremely diverse state like Georgia, takes part and participates in our most basic of civil liberties, which is the right to vote, is something that’s really special to me,’' said McHugh, 33, referencing the state’s record voter turnout in last year’s election.

“And it’s really special to a lot of people, regardless of party, regardless of political affiliation, to see fellow Americans be able to have the opportunity and then follow through on that opportunity to be able to participate in this. It meant a lot to a lot of us.

“And to immediately on the backside of that, to see a bill like this put into law so fast that is really going to be restrictive — and people can argue about the percentages, and it’s not really that restrictive, and they’re opening some more things up here or closing some more things up there — in response to some sort of ethereal potential fraud in elections, which Gov. Kemp and his whole staff already said didn’t happen, I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed by the Georgia electoral body, and I think a lot of people in Georgia feel the same way.’'

But McHugh, a former member of the players union executive board, said he’s not in favor of penalizing the fans by moving the July 13 game in a form of protest.

“I would hate to take baseball away from the city of Atlanta for something that it didn’t do. The people of Atlanta love baseball, they’ve loved the Braves, they’ve loved the MLB for years and years and years. There’s a rich history there,” he said.

“I wouldn’t want to deprive my friends of being able to see Randy (Arozarena). I wouldn’t want to deprive them of seeing Mike Trout and some of the guys they don’t get to see every year because of something that they didn’t do.

“So, yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard. I don’t have a great answer for it, to be honest with you. It’s disappointing in a huge way from a political standpoint, but I think baseball can transcend a lot of political things, and we’ll see what ends up happening.

“Obviously I’m behind baseball, whatever we do, because I think using our weight and using the status that we have given to us by our fans, it means something. And we should be putting that weight behind things that matter. I think we try to do that as well as we can, and I think we’ll continue to do that. We’ll see what happens in terms of the All-Star Game.”

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