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Silverman: Denver and Atlanta were linked by boycotts long before the All-Star Game

Coors Field deserves the 2021 MLB All-Star Game over Georgia

The morning docket finally finished near noon. I hustled to 16th Street and boarded the shuttle. Exiting at Blake Street, I rushed four blocks north to an open field where a small crowd assembled.

Attendees were handed two bags of peanuts in special packaging commemorating “Coors Field Groundbreaking — Oct. 16, 1992.” Sensing a baseball collector’s item, I delicately placed the bags in my sportscoat’s side pockets. Dignitaries used shovels at home plate, and then told us how Coors Field would look when completed.

I grabbed a quick lunch and hurried back to the Denver DA’s Office, where I put my collector peanuts in my lower desk drawer. I made it back for the 1:30 p.m. docket, confident Coors Field would transform downtown Denver and LoDo. Denver was becoming a big-league sports city.

Craig Silverman

The Broncos’ future seemed bright if John Elway could outlast Dan Reeves, who had just drafted QB Tommy Maddox in the first round. Young star center Dikembe Mutombo was uplifting the Denver Nuggets by swatting down opposition shots. In November 1992, the Rockies signed free agent Andres Gallaraga, who would become Colorado’s beloved first MLB all-star.

But the big news in November 1992 was Colorado’s election initiatives. With over 53% of the vote, Colorado voters passed both Amendment One (TABOR) and Amendment Two, a constitutional amendment aimed against gays.

Objections to Amendment Two’s passage were intense. Colorado was called the hate state. Prominent liberals like Barbra Streisand promptly urged boycotts. Conventions were canceled. Atlanta’s City Council banned its city employees from doing any business in Colorado.  

Amendment Two was indeed rotten. In 1994 and 1996 respectively, the Colorado and U.S. Supreme Courts rejected Amendment Two for unconstitutionally targeting homosexuals. Nowadays, Colorado voters have progressed to the point of electing, and likely re-electing, America’s first openly gay governor.  

Georgia currently occupies the “horrible law hot seat” with its new Jim Crow 2.0 voting laws. Republican legislators built on Trump’s ongoing Big Lie by stripping power from Georgia’s Secretary of State, who resisted Trump’s contemptible bullying. 

Trumpists falsely claim vote-rigging in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit and other big cities with large Black populations. Some Trumpists cry crocodile tears for Black people in Atlanta damaged by MLB’s moving its All-Star Game to Denver. Some gay business owners were hurt when Colorado was boycotted in 1992-93. Short-term localized losses can yield long-term societal gains.

Lest anyone doubt Trumpism’s inherent racism, consider its leader’s and followers’ delight when using phrases such as China Virus and Kung Flu. Anti-Asian bigotry has followed. 

Asian-Americans now face drastically increased threats and violence. Anti-Asian anxiety accelerated when the Atlanta spa murders were America’s lead story, only to be replaced by the horrors inflicted at the Boulder King Soopers.

Other vicious crimes have intertwined our metropolises. Colorado’s Capitol Hill Rapist, Quintin Wortham, fled to Atlanta before being caught by the FBI and extradited to Denver. Wortham was convicted and sentenced to 400 years in 1990. JonBenet Ramsey was born Aug. 6, 1990, in Atlanta and murdered in Boulder, Colorado, on Christmas in 1996.   

During that decade, Georgia started swiping our sports superstars. By 1996, Dikembe Mutombo was blocking shots for the Atlanta Hawks. Big Cat Gallaraga was soon smashing homers for the Atlanta Braves. There was some payback in the late 1990s when John Elway (and Georgia’s Terrell Davis) won Denver a second straight Vince Lombardi trophy, defeating Atlanta’s Falcons and its head coach Dan Reeves. 

Coors Field deserves the 2021 MLB All-Star Game over Georgia. Despite what Trumpists like Jeannie Pirro and John Daly think, there’s no way Georgia has more open voting than Colorado. Our Centennial State has the gold standard when it comes to conducting elections. 

When Fox News’ correspondent Peter Doocy contended Georgia’s voting laws are Colorado’s equal, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki fired back with facts. “First, let me say, on Colorado. Colorado allows you to register on Election Day, Colorado has voting by mail where they send, to 100% of people in the state who are eligible, applications to vote by mail.” Psaki explained 94% of Colorado’s voting is by mail. 

Psaki then made the key point that is the dealbreaker for MLB, major corporations, President Biden and me. “The Georgia legislation is built on a lie,” she said. “There was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election.” 

TODAY’S UNDERWRITER

Cheaters should never prosper. Neither should racists. Corporations should react against racism and Trumpian Big Lies. The United States should honor truth and be a meritocracy where people, states and businesses reap what they sew. All-star games are all about rewarding merit. 

In April 1994, I proposed marriage. One fine night that summer, my fiancée and I planned a Rockies game, but I was severely delayed in court. No problem. She could wait for me in my office. When I arrived; she was starved and shucking peanuts, devouring both bags she found in my lower desk drawer. 

Oh well. The best laid plans. Our children will have to work. That’s fine. We’ll get other baseball collectibles at the extra-historic 2021 All-Star Game at Coors Field.


Craig Silverman is a former Denver chief deputy DA who also has worked in the media for decades. Craig is columnist at large for The Colorado Sun. He practices law at the Denver law firm of Springer & Steinberg, P.C. and is host of The Craig Silverman Show podcast.



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