Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, a Puerto Rico native who has been outspoken about its need for hurricane relief, indicated on Thursday that he may skip the World Series celebration at the White House over President Donald Trump's policies toward the island.
Cora previously said he would make the traditional champion's visit to Washington to argue for more help for the American island that was devastated by Hurricane Maria. But in the wake of reports this week that Trump tried to redirect funds from Puerto Rico to Florida and Texas, Cora repeatedly prefaced his comments on Thursday with, "If I go ...."
"We'll see what happens," Cora said before the annual dinner of the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. "There's a lot of stuff going on right now as far as the government and the shutdown and all that. If I go, I'll represent Puerto Rico the right way."
Once a routine, non-partisan perk of winning it all, the traditional champions' visit to Washington has become especially politicized lately, with some teams declining the invitation; in other cases, individual players stayed home.
The Red Sox have said they will go, while leaving it up to individual members of the organization.
And Cora wavered.
"Right now I can say yes. It might change tomorrow," he said. "It's not that I've changed my mind. But we'll see what happens in the upcoming days."
Cora said one issue is whether he can accomplish more by going or by staying home. He made it clear that he would not attend to "make a scene," but to "represent them the right way."
"I don't know what kind of platform I'm going to have if I go," he said. "Sometimes, if you walk the other way and you get your back to whatever is going on, is it positive? I don't know. Sometimes you've got to show your face."
Catcher Blake Swihart, infielder Brock Holt and pitcher Ryan Brasier all said on Thursday they were looking forward to a White House tour.
"It's not every day you can just walk into the White House," Swihart said. "So it's going to be a cool experience.
The most recent honoree was Clemson's football team, which won the college national championship this month and visited Trump on Monday. Because of the federal government shutdown, Trump ordered in and served the Tigers fast food: pizza, burgers and fries.
"That's all my favourite foods," Brasier said.
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