White House Welcomes the Boston 'Red Socks'

Podcast Red Sox are the latest team caught between sports and politics

"Politically, it didn't matter who was in the White House", Hembree said.

Another day, another awkward trip to Washington D.C.

Manager Alex Cora was one who brought up the unwillingness of Trump to help Puerto Rico during their post-Hurricane Maria recovery. But Hector Velazquez, a Red Sox player whose family still lives in Mexico, told MassLive.com that Trump's racist comments about Mexicans led to his decision not to attend.

"Each Red Sox player is a shining example of excellence living out an American sporting tradition that goes back many generations", Trump said. We're in a good place.

"There's a group that is going home", he added. "That's the way we're going to do it". But the event was clouded by the absence of most of the team's Latino and African American players, who chose to skip the event over disagreements with the president's politics. But former player David Ortiz was less circumspect, telling WEEI sports radio he would have definitely skipped the event, which he compared to "shak [ing] hands with the enemy". You read that right. "I'd rather not go and be consistent with everything". "I think, to the extent that we can, baseball is apolitical". "You knew what a World Series victory was, you knew it was in reach, and you didn't want to do anything to blow it". It's your decision. Make a choice.

All those bypassing the White House are players of color. Trump was presented with a Red Sox jersey with the number 18 on the back. The president strongly opposes additional disaster aid for Puerto Rico and has repeatedly brushed off criticism about his administration's handling of recovery efforts after hurricanes María and Irma made landfall in 2017.

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About a dozen players - and manager Alex Cora - skipped the event.

Outfielder JD Martinez, whose family came to the United States from Cuba, was among the players of Latino origin who did attend.

"There's been a lot of talk about what's going on tomorrow and the clubhouse and we're divided with race and politics", Cora said.

Who knew that mediocrity could feel this encouraging? I know a lot of people doubt that, but we did what we did previous year and canceled the noise.

Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, a Venezuelan native, offered his perspective before the team's game Wednesday in Baltimore: "For me, it's not a big deal". They wanted to see the Lincoln Bedroom.

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