The Red Sox wrap up a road trip in Baltimore this week, but won’t all be heading back to Boston together. The team is running two separate charter flights, one going home on Wednesday, after the final game of the series, and one on Thursday, an off-day. The second is to accommodate the players, coaches, and executives who will be attending a White House ceremony for the defending champs; the first is for all those who are pointedly skipping the meeting with President Trump. It remains to be seen which flight will be fuller.
Manager Alex Cora, after months of high-profile indecision on whether to avoid the ceremony as a protest of the Trump administration’s shameful handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in his native Puerto Rico, or to attend the ceremony and use it as a platform, made up his mind a few days ago. In a statement sent to El Nuevo Dia, Cora seemed to imply that skipping the trip to the White House is using his platform to draw attention to the fact that the island is still waiting on relief. He’s probably right that this will get more attention than any statement he would’ve made in the Rose Garden.
“Even though the United States Government has helped, there’s still a long road ahead and that is OUR reality. I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten and my absence (from the White House) is no different. As such, at this moment, I don’t feel comfortable celebrating in the White House.”
He noted that in Puerto Rico “some people still lack basic necessities, others remain without electricity and many homes and schools are in pretty bad shape almost a year and a half after Hurricane Maria struck.”
Cora will have company. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts announced on Sunday that “I won’t be going,” declining to give details. David Price, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Hector Velazquez, and Christian Vazquez had previously announced that they would not attend Thursday’s ceremony. While most have declined to talk about it, it’s safe to assume their reasons are similar to the ones that led so many Warriors and Eagles players to speak up against a ceremony that Trump disinvited the entire teams, and which led a number of notable Capitals players to skip last month’s visit.
According to the Boston Globe, Rick Porcello, J.D. Martinez, Chris Sale, Mitch Moreland, Steve Pearce, Brock Holt, Matt Barnes, and Brandon Workman have said they will visit the White House, while a number of players remain undecided.
Team president and CEO Sam Kennedy, who will be attending along with the rest of the owners, said the team stands behind Cora and any players who decline to attend.
“We fully support Alex and respect his decision,” said Kennedy via text. “He and I have discussed this issue frequently since last November, and I know it was a hard decision for him. I am grateful to (principal owner) John (Henry) and (chairman) Tom (Werner) for creating a culture where we discuss these issues openly, and encourage individual decision-making. I appreciate Alex for talking openly with our team and supporting those who are looking forward to being honored on Thursday.”