Feathered Bastard

Padres' Adrian Gonzalez, Mets' Rod Barajas, MLB Players Association Blast Arizona Immigration Law

If a boycott of Arizona over its new "papers please" legislation is to be a home run, Major League Baseball could be the effort's star player.

MLB Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner issued a statement Friday signaling the union's disapproval of the new law, warning that, 

"If the current law goes into effect, the MLBPA will consider additional steps necessary to protect the rights and interests of our members."

Weiner noted that "the spring training homes of half of the 30 Major League teams are now in Arizona," and that the "international players" who live and play in Arizona "could be adversely affected," even though they're in the U.S. legally.

The statement reads: "Each of them must be ready to prove, at any time, his identity and the legality of his being in Arizona to any state or local official with suspicion of his immigration status. This law also may affect players who are U.S. citizens but are suspected by law enforcement of being of foreign descent."

San Diego Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has signaled that he supports the union's stance, and that he'll likely boycott Arizona if the 2011 MLB All-Star Game is held here.

"If they leave it up to the players and the law is still there," Gonzalez was quoted as saying on USA Today's Web site. "I'll probably not play in the All-Star Game. Because it's a discriminating law...I know it can't be done, but they should take spring training out of (Arizona) if it's possible."

Mets catcher Rod Barajas also backed the position of the union, blasting the new law in the pages of the New York Times.

"What if you go to Arizona and the starting pitcher that day gets asked for his papers and he doesn't have them?" Barajas said. "What happens then? I don't like it, and I think pretty much all of Major League Baseball feels the same way."

Both Barajas and Gonzalez are American citizens, BTW.

But it's the statements of the MLB players that should make Arizonans quake in their boots. If the union puts its muscle behind a boycott, the economic impact could be staggering.