Politics and America's national pastime will mix this evening in Queens, as local protesters of Arizona's controversial immigration law are expected to rally outside Citi Field before the start of tonight's Mets-Diamondbacks game.
Starting at 5 p.m., demonstrators will march a two-mile stretch from 83rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue to the entrance of the ballpark.
Federal judge Susan Bolton blocked sections of Arizona immigration law SB 1070 Wednesday that required local and state law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of those they suspected were illegal immigrants - a provision many deem analogous to racial profiling. That injunction, however, is temporary.
"We're not against Major League Baseball or the Diamondbacks," rally organizer Julio Pabon, of the Latino Sports Writers and Broadcasters Association, told the Daily News earlier this week. "But the Diamondbacks are ambassadors of their state."
Though some may question the usefulness of bringing politics to baseball's doorstep, a handful of major-league players already have said they plan on boycotting next year's All-Star Game, at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Commissioner Bud Selig has yet to show any signs of moving the game.
Mets catcher Rod Barajas, whose Mexican parents now reside in Arizona, openly opposes the law.
Infielder Alex Cora told Newsday he does not agree with the law, but chose not to elaborate. As for the rally, he said: "That's the beauty of this country. You have the freedom of speech and it really doesn't matter how people perceive the protest. Obviously, they've got their own reasons and they have a right to do it."
Cora said he didn't think the Diamondbacks would take offense to demonstration.
"I think they understand what's going on," he said. "It's just part of it and I guarantee you they understand the whole process."
The Mets did not issue a statement.