Former President Donald Trump is expected to attend a World Series game in metro Atlanta this weekend, potentially bringing his ongoing feud with Major League Baseball to Truist Park in the midst of the team’s first appearance in the championship round in decades.
Braves chief executive Terry McGuirk told USA Today that Trump called the league to request tickets to attend Saturday’s game against the Houston Astros.
”We were very surprised. Of course, we said yes,” he told USA Today, adding: “We are apolitical. We’re open to anyone coming. It’s great that he wants to come to our game.”
The visit is certain to highlight the ongoing rift between the former president and America’s pastime, a split that deepened after Georgia’s Republican-led Legislature rewrote the state’s election laws.
Trump called on his supporters to “boycott baseball” in April after the league yanked the All-Star game from the suburban ballpark in protest of the new law. Also set to be in attendance at the game is Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, who made the decision to pull out of the game.
Though many state Democrats assailed the league’s decision, it became a rallying cry for Republicans who say fearmongering from critics of the law deprived metro Atlanta of a premier event.
Democrats, meanwhile, pointed to repeated falsehoods about widespread voter fraud promoted by Trump and his allies that paved the way for the election restrictions.
Manfred defended the decision in a press conference on Tuesday.
“We always have tried to be apolitical,” he said. “Obviously there was a notable exception this year. I think our desire is to try to avoid another exception to that general rule. We have a fan base that’s diverse, has different points of view and we’d like to keep the focus on the field, on the game.”
The law includes a new ID requirement for mail-in votes, curbs the use of ballot drop boxes and gives the Republican-controlled Legislature more power over local elections. It also bans outside groups from handing out food and water to voters in lines and expands weekend voting in some rural counties.
Opponents of the law have brought eight separate legal challenges, including a lawsuit filed in June by the U.S. Justice Department. And it has divided Georgia’s corporate world, spurring Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines to publicly oppose the overhaul.
This wouldn’t be Trump’s first visit to Atlanta for a championship sporting event. He attended the college football title game between Georgia and Alabama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2018 and was greeted with a chorus of cheers mixed in with boos as he took the field. He left shortly before halftime.