- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 9, 2019

President Trump celebrated the 2018 World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, at the White House in a jovial ceremony overshadowed in part by the racial divide among those who decided to show up.

The Red Sox dusted off New York Yankees and the defending champions, the Houston Astros, during the American League playoffs, before knocking aside the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games to claim the title.

“Frankly, they were unstoppable,” Mr. Trump said. “I watched.”

The Sox are off to a lukewarm start this year, though Mr. Trump marveled over starting pitcher Chris Sale, saying he struck out 14 in eight innings versus the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.

Manger Alex Cora, who is Puerto Rican, decided to skip the event, citing the Trump administration’s much-criticized response to Hurricane Maria on the island territory he calls home.

“I certainly understand his decision not to come, and I respect it,” Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner told reporters outside the White House.

SEE ALSO: Red Sox split along racial lines for visit to Trump

A number of players of color, including American League MVP Mookie Betts, also skipped the event, prompting jokes about the “white Sox” who showed up.

Mr. Werner said the split wouldn’t harm team morale, dubbing the White House visit an “apolitical” day.

“We don’t see it as a racial divide,” he said. “It was not a mandatory invitation.”

Mr. Werner said Mr. Trump showed the players the residence and Lincoln Bedroom.

During the ceremony, Mr. Sale thanked the president, while outfielder J.D. Martinez joshed the president, saying it must have been tough for the Yankees fan to stomach their visit.

The team exited the White House stage to the strains of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” a mainstay that’s played in the middle of the eighth inning at Fenway Park in Boston.

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