'White' Sox to visit 'White' House this week in recognition of World Series win; Betts, Bogaerts, Cora, et al. opt out

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jserraglio
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'White' Sox to visit 'White' House this week in recognition of World Series win; Betts, Bogaerts, Cora, et al. opt out

Post by jserraglio » Tue May 07, 2019 3:05 pm

WASHINGTON POST

BALTIMORE — Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora recently discovered the “mute” function on Twitter, which has come in handy in the aftermath of his decision, first revealed over the weekend by a newspaper in his native Puerto Rico, to skip the defending World Series champions’ scheduled visit to the White House on Thursday.
But to date, no such button exists for real life. And so, on Monday afternoon in the visiting dugout at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Cora patiently answered questions for a third straight day about that decision — as the team’s White House visit is increasingly framed as a story about race, ethnicity and politics.
“I learned conviction from my dad and mom,” Cora said Monday about his decision. “The last text I got before the game was from my mom, and it was a powerful one.”
The manager or coach of a championship team rarely, if ever, skips the traditional White House visit the following season (provided they are employed by the franchise). As such, Cora became the highest-profile member of the Red Sox to announce his intentions to skip the visit with President Trump, whose stance toward aid for Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017 remains a flash point for residents and natives of the island territory.
But Cora is not the only uniformed Red Sox personnel to opt out of the trip. Among players, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Sandy Leon, Eduardo Nunez, David Price, Christian Vazquez and Hector Velazquez have said publicly they would be declining the invitation. The other roughly 20 players (a few of whom are on the injured list) have either announced their intention to attend, or were presumed to be attending.
It was impossible not to notice one significant difference between the two groups: Those opting out of the trip are all people of color, while those planning to attend (with the exception of designated hitter J.D. Martinez, who is of Cuban descent) are white. This dichotomy was highlighted by a tweet from longtime Boston sports columnist Steve Buckley, who noted, “Basically, it’s the white Sox who’ll be going.”
The racial divide was further underscored when Price, who is African American, retweeted Buckley’s tweet to his nearly 1.8 million followers, adding, “I just feel like more than 38k should see this tweet …” — a reference to Buckley’s Twitter following of roughly 38,000. Price’s retweet led to rampant speculation Monday that the racial divide of the White House visit had become a clubhouse problem for the team. Price, however, later clarified his stance, in remarks to the Boston Globe, saying the original Buckley tweet “was an insensitive tweet that needs to be seen by more people.”
Price previously had explained his decision to opt out of the White House visit, during an interview with MLB Network, by saying, “It’s baseball season.” Most players have been equally bland in their reasoning for skipping the event, although Velazquez, who is from Mexico, told reporters he was opting out because Trump “has said a lot of stuff about Mexico” and he did not want to offend anyone in his native country.
Boston management has framed the issue as one of personal choice, and not of politics. Having also won World Series titles in 2004, 2007 and 2013, the team has previously visited the White House under both Republican and Democratic presidents. This week, the team will be operating separate chartered flights back to Boston, one day apart, for those players choosing to skip the White House visit and those choosing to attend.
“We were concerned about that and understood it might be a possibility,” Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said in a telephone interview about the divide along racial lines. “We’ve just made it very clear to the players it’s their choice and it’s their right to attend or not attend. We’re pleased our players have not only talked about it among themselves in the clubhouse but also with us.
"I hope the players are happy with the way it has been handled, which is [by making clear] that this is an honor. This is not a political statement of any kind. We knew an issue like this could become divisive so we addressed it. There’s no division in the clubhouse that we know of right now.”
Asked Monday if he sensed any tension among the players over which of them are or are not visiting the White House, Cora said, “Not at all.” Red Sox players have echoed that sentiment, with Bogaerts telling reporters, “It’s a personal choice, and everyone respects that. It has no effect [in the clubhouse] or out there on the field.”
But Cora has been clear about his reasons for skipping the White House ceremony, tying the decision to the lingering resentment in Puerto Rico to the Trump administration’s response to Hurricane Maria, which killed more than 3,000 residents in September 2017. On Sunday, he pointed out Puerto Ricans are “still struggling, still fighting” while lacking “basic necessities” almost a year and a half since Maria.
“It was a decision I made with a lot of conviction,” he reiterated Monday. “… I think the message was clear [and] simple, and everybody understands. I don’t feel comfortable going to a celebration while we’re living what we’re living back home.”
Since the start of the Trump administration, the traditional White House visit of championship teams has taken on a more political tone. Previously, numerous members of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors decided en masse against the White House visit, only to have Trump subsequently rescind the invitations. The president also was criticized for serving fast food to members of the 2018 Clemson football team, while some members of the 2018 New England Patriots have made clear they wouldn’t attend a White House celebration.
On Monday, the same day Price’s Twitter controversy arose and Cora reiterated his reasons for skipping, the White House held a Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony, at which Trump slipped the medal — signifying the nation’s highest civilian honor — over the head of Tiger Woods, who is of African American and Asian descent.
Dave Sheinin has been a Washington Post sports writer since 1999. Before working at The Post, he covered golf, Florida Gators football and Major League Baseball for the Miami Herald.
Democracy Dies in Darkness
© 1996-2019 The Washington Post
Last edited by jserraglio on Wed May 08, 2019 12:56 am, edited 16 times in total.

Modernistfan
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Re: 'White' Sox plan to attend WH celebration of their Series win

Post by Modernistfan » Tue May 07, 2019 3:27 pm

I can certainly understand why Mookie Betts and other Red Sox players who are black or Hispanic will not go to the White House. However, I hope that this does not open up a racial divide in the clubhouse or between the fans and the players. Although Boston has a reputation as an extremely liberal town, it has also developed the reputation of not treating black players, and to some extent, Hispanic players, very well, particularly for baseball. Until recently, black players were cautioned around the league not to sign with the Red Sox as free agents (this has now started to change).

Rach3
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Re: 'White' Sox plan to attend WH celebration of their Series win

Post by Rach3 » Tue May 07, 2019 4:35 pm

Tiger Woods should have had said " no " , for a variety of reasons, but I shall not comment further although tempted...

jserraglio
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Re: 'White' Sox plan to attend WH celebration of their Series win

Post by jserraglio » Tue May 07, 2019 6:03 pm

Modernistfan wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 3:27 pm
Although Boston has a reputation as an extremely liberal town, it has also developed the reputation of not treating black players, and to some extent, Hispanic players, very well, particularly for baseball.
The Red Sox have the dubious distinction of being the club that completed the integration of the American League begun in 1947 by a more progressive club (and better baseball team), the AL Cleveland Indians, itself following the lead of the NL Brooklyn Dodgers. The Red Sox came to the party late, to put it kindly—1959. Neither was Celtic immortal Bill Russell (1956-1969) exactly enamored of what he perceived back then as Beantown bigotry.

Modernistfan
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Re: 'White' Sox to visit 'White' House this week in recognition of World Series win; Betts, Bogaerts, Cora, et al. opt o

Post by Modernistfan » Wed May 08, 2019 8:46 am

It was well known that the Red Sox did give some sort of a tryout to Jackie Robinson prior to his being signed by the Dodgers, but they did not take it all seriously and did not really attempt to follow up or sign him. It was not so well known that the Red Sox also blew a chance to sign Willie Mays. Before Mays was signed by the Giants, he was still playing for the Birmingham Black Barons in the Negro leagues. That team sometimes played in the stadium used by the Birmingham Barons in the Southern League, a Red Sox farm team at that time. The Barons general manager happened to see Mays and called Tom Yawkey, the Red Sox owner and said that they had better take a serious look at this kid. Yawkey, of course, didn't want any black players and couldn't be bothered. Imagine Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays in the same lineup with Ted Williams!

jserraglio
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Re: 'White' Sox to visit 'White' House this week in recognition of World Series win; Betts, Bogaerts, Cora opt o

Post by jserraglio » Wed May 08, 2019 8:57 am

Modernistfan wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 8:46 am
Yawkey, of course, didn't want any black players
Indeed, Branch Rickey or Bill Veeck Tom Yawkey was decidedly NOT. Jackie Robertson once called Yawkey a racist pr*ck, or words to that effect.

The Red Sox for two decades, from '47 to '66, prime integration years, were perennial second-division finishers. Except for Ted Williams (who had his own bone to pick with Boston), I paid scant attention to them growing up, nor to the white Tigers. Yes, I paid fealty to the Bronx gods, but my collecting-card heroes played for the Indians, Dodgers and White Sox.

Modernistfan
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Re: 'White' Sox to visit 'White' House this week in recognition of World Series win; Betts, Bogaerts, Cora, et al. opt o

Post by Modernistfan » Wed May 08, 2019 10:12 am

I am convinced that if Ted Williams had seen Jackie Robinson at the tryout, such as it was, he would have gone to Red Sox management and said that they had to sign him. He probably would have said that, if they had Robinson hitting leadoff, he would not only have hit .400 again, but would have broken Hack Wilson's record for runs batted in (190 RBIs). Unfortunately, at that point, Williams was still a fighter pilot in the Pacific theater and did not have the chance to see Robinson.
When I was in Boston (1969-1974), there were still problems, particularly with the press. Bob Ryan, who covered both the Red Sox and the basketball Celtics, almost always favored white players and would be extremely critical of black (or, in baseball, Hispanic) players, with a few exceptions. I still remember that when Jim Rice came up, Ryan was extremely critical of his fielding. For the first half of his rookie year, he played mostly designated hitter. Then, he moved to left field, and he was excellent; he played that tricky left-field wall (the "Green Monster") as well as anyone ever played it, including Carl Yastrzemski. (Rice clearly did not have the range to play center field.) With respect to the Celtics, similarly, for years, Ryan tried to get shooting guard Jo-Jo White traded. The fact is that they desperately needed White's shooting, particularly with the other guard, Don Chaney, being defensive-minded and not all that much of a shooter. Moreover, White was a far better defensive player than Ryan would ever acknowledge--he played New York Knicks guard Walt Frazier extremely tough. Ryan never admitted that he had been wrong.

jserraglio
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Re: 'White' Sox to visit 'White' House this week in recognition of World Series win; Betts, Bogaerts, Cora, et al. opt o

Post by jserraglio » Wed May 08, 2019 11:22 am

Hey, I lived in Boston almost exactly the same years (1968-75)! I had grown up in highly segregated Cleveland, Ohio, but was shocked by the blunt-force antics and behavior of some Bostonians. Witness the uprising over busing. But then I was pretty naive and easily shocked.

I remember as a boy being upset by the way Cleveland sports writers mocked Satchel Paige and Luke Easter. And according to his son, Larry Doby endured a lot of what Jackie Robinson went thru. I was brought up in a household that were not inclined to look smilingly upon African-Americans, so those objectionable sports columns sparked my first questioning of the remnants of America's peculiar institution.

I saw the Celtics play the Lakers in the old Garden. Wilt and Havlicek cast a spell. Chamberlain rarely shot but still completely dominated the half court. I was astounded. I recall watching Russell on TV his rookie season and knowing he would become a star despite all the missed free throws. I was a big Celtics fan, there being no NBA team in Cleveland at the time (Steinbrenner's Cleveland Pipers were in the ABL).

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