About 20 members of the Boston Red Sox were scheduled to visit the White House on Thursday to celebrate their 2018 World Series championship, but manager Alex Cora said there’s no dissension between players and staff who attended and those who declined.
Cora and several star players backed out of the ceremonial event. Cora said he decided not to go because of President Donald Trump’s attitude toward the manager’s native Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017.
“There’s been a lot of talk about what’s going on (Thursday) and the clubhouse and we’re divided with race and politics,” Cora said. “Those kids went out there and played their hearts out. We know who we are in the clubhouse. I know a lot of people doubt that, but we did what we did last year and canceled the noise. We showed up every day, and we played.”
The Red Sox are off Thursday, and the White House visit coincides with the recently completed road trip in Baltimore.
“There’s a group going home. There’s a group going to the White House,” Cora said. “Friday, we get back to playing baseball.”
Among the Red Sox players who decided to skip the trip are Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and David Price.
Pitcher Heath Hembree said he sees the invitation as a rare opportunity, and his decision to go has nothing to do with who occupies the Oval Office.
“Politically, it didn’t matter who was in the White House,” he said. “If I have an opportunity to go to the White House and meet the president, I’m going to go. Nobody tried to persuade me. They have their reasons why not to go.”