Trump receives the Boston Red Sox in the White House; Alex Cora, David Price, others skip the trip.



Cindy Boren

Sports reporter, with emphasis on politics and national histories.

President Trump welcomed the Boston Red Sox to the White House on Thursday afternoon in a mostly jovial ceremony that made no reference to the controversy that preceded the team's trip.

The winners of the World Series did not have several prominent faces during their visit to Washington. Manager Alex Cora, a native of Puerto Rico, decided not to attend because of Trump's stance towards aid for the island since it was devastated in 2017 by Hurricane Maria. At least nine players had also planned to skip the trip, including Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Hector Velázquez, Xander Bogaerts, Sandy Leon, Christian Vázquez, Eduardo Núñez and David Price.

Trump made no reference to the missing players, but congratulated "all the Red Sox coaches and players" for his "incredible victory" over the Los Angeles Dodgers last fall.

"Frankly, they were unstoppable," Trump said. "I saw."

The Boston players, Chris Sale and J.D. Martinez made brief comments, where Sale called the trip "a great honor" and "something we really appreciate." Martinez described the trip as "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

The day started with an error, with the White House website calendar stating that "President Trump welcomes the 2018 World Series champions, the Boston Red Socks, to the White House."


(Screenshot / WhiteHouse.gov) (White House / WhiteHouse.gov)

Early in the morning, the White House had remedied the error.

Those who plan to attend (or are presumed to attend) include approximately 20 white players. The family members joined them, and Martinez's father, Julio, was delighted with the opportunity to visit the White House, telling WEEI: "I even bought a new suit. It will really hit me on Thursday. "

Julio Martínez's father arrived in the United States in 1961 and Julio followed one year later, according to the site. "I wish my father was alive to see this," said Julio Martinez, who visited Washington but never came closer to the White House than the sidewalk, according to WEEI. "Oh, my God, it's amazing, it's amazing that I can go there, I came from Cuba in 1962, so it's been a long road, I'm doing it for him, it's going to be an incredible time."

Vázquez, who is from Puerto Rico, explained that his decision to stay away was "personal." Everyone has personal opinions. I do not like to talk about those thoughts. "

[‘The moment we’re in’: United as baseball champions, the Red Sox are divided by Trump]

Mitch Moreland and Heath Hembree, on the other hand, planned to attend. "Everyone has their choice, we respect each other," Moreland told David Nakamura of The Post earlier in the week. "I was born in the United States and will probably be buried here, so I'm excited about the opportunity." For Hembree, "it did not matter who was in the White House, if I have the opportunity to go to the White House and meet the president, I'm leaving." Nobody tried to persuade me, "They have their reasons why they should not go."

Team management left the decision to serve the individuals, but the racial break had been impossible to ignore, even when the Red Sox tried to minimize the division. Wednesday night, Nakamura reported, a team media officer closed the questions about the White House visit and expelled him from the clubhouse, as other reporters entered after the game against the Orioles in Baltimore.

"People are talking about" What's going to happen in the clubhouse? It's going to be divided, "Manager Alex Cora told WEEI (via Boston.com) Wednesday in Baltimore, where the Red Sox they were playing against the Orioles. "That's not the case, that's not the case … We're in a good place, there are some guys who are going home tonight and some who will be coming home tomorrow night, that's the way we're going to do ".

[The racial divide in the Red Sox’ visit to Trump’s White House is impossible to ignore]

"I have the pulse of what is happening in the clubhouse," Cora told WEEI on Wednesday. "Obviously, you do not read everything, you do not hear everything, but you have an idea of ​​what's going on, I talk to certain guys in the clubhouse," Hey. Just to make sure we are all on the same page, we decided that this is the way we will do it. The organization gave us the opportunity to decide if we go, if we do not go. I think we are doing the right thing. Nobody has to be ashamed or pressured not to go or to go. "Everything is fine, to be honest with you."

Cora emphasized that she did not want to visit Puerto Rico. At a rally on Wednesday night in Panama City, Florida, the president repeated his badertion that the US. UU They had awarded $ 91 billion in aid to the island, an badertion that the Washington Post Fact Checker has awarded three Pinocchios for being fake.

With his team at .500, five games from the Rays, leaders of the AL East, Cora said he prefers not to play politics, declining to use Thursday's event to express his concerns. Cora said Sunday that he has spoken about the plight of Puerto Ricans in the past and added that "he does not feel comfortable in the White House."

"[Thursday] It's a celebration of the Red Sox, "Cora said Wednesday." It's not: "Let's make a deal for Puerto Rico", do you know what I mean? "

The Red Sox won 2-1 in 12 innings on Wednesday, another test for Cora that her team will not be divided by her visit to the White House.

"Those kids came out and played their hearts." We know who we are in the clubhouse, "Cora said after the victory." We know a lot of people doubt that. But like last year, we canceled the noise, we introduce ourselves every day and we play. I was watching the game and I said to myself: & # 39; You know what, yes & # 39; It was great. For all those who talk about us, the situation, crushed us throughout the week, well, they played extra tickets. They did not give up and you see them in the clubhouse, they are celebrating Heath [Hembree] Because of the first rescue, they are celebrating Jackie. [and his game-saving catch]and now, come on.

"There's a group that goes home, and there's a group that goes to the White House, and on Friday, we come back, play baseball again."

The Red Sox players stopped at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Thursday before heading to the White House. Trump said he planned to take the team to Lincoln Bedroom after the ceremony.

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Thomas Boswell: Tips for wobbly nationals: Take a deep breath. Tips for your fans: look the other way.

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