Controversy followed the World Series to Washington, D.C., after President Donald Trump said he would attend Game 5 of the series.
The underdog Washington Nationals begin what could be three consecutive home games Friday with a 2-0 series lead over the heavily favored Houston Astros in the best-of-seven series.
If Game 5 is necessary (i.e. if the Astros win one of the next two games), it would be played Sunday.
In the past, some athletes have distanced themselves from Trump over his political stances.
That might explain why Washington Nationals pitcher Anibal Sanchez was asked Thursday about whether it was appropriate for Trump to attend an upcoming game.
“He’s the president of this country. If he wants to come to the game, it’s something that he wants to do. Of course everybody has to respect that situation,’’ Sanchez said when told some Hispanic players disagree with Trump’s policies, according to the New York Post.
Aníbal Sánchez was asked if Latin MLB players, who have sometimes objected to actions by the Trump administration, would take issue with POTUS attending.
“I don’t want to attack him like I got something against [him]. I’m following the president…”
Full answer: pic.twitter.com/2XV7Jndhji
— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) October 24, 2019
“I don’t want to attack him like I got something against. I’m following the president, like you say, I’m from Venezuela. I’m out of this country, but then I respect all those situations,” he said.
“And like I say, he’s the president, and if he want to come, why not?’’
During a White House ceremony Thursday, Trump was asked about attending a game while the series was in town.
A Washington team was last in the World Series in 1933.
“I don’t know. They’re going to have to dress me up in a lot of heavy armor. I’ll look too heavy. I don’t like that,” he said.
Trump’s comment immediately drew criticism. The New York Times noted that Trump would be appearing before a crowd of fans who largely voted against him in the 2016 election.
“He would do much better if he threw out a pitch in Houston,” former Republican Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia told The Times, referring to Trump’s political support in Texas.
“I think it only says something about Trump,” sniped Joe Lockhart, a former press secretary for former President Bill Clinton.
“He only enjoys events that are about him. He doesn’t enjoy or really recognize something that’s bigger than him.”
The Nationals announced Friday that Game 4 will be opened by a player from the team’s youth baseball academy, joined by pitcher Max Scherzer and third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Game 5 will be opened by restaurant owner Jose Andres.
Andres pulled out of a partnership with the Trump Organization due to comments made by then-candidate Trump in 2015, NPR reported.
I’m humbled by the invitation, and I realize is a big big big honor but I really hope that by Saturday night all of WASHINGTON will be celebrating that the @Nationals are the 2019 @MLB World Series Champions…🙏😘😘👨🍳⚾️🏆 https://t.co/V6EvP9L7Lr
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) October 25, 2019
Presidents have often thrown out ceremonial first pitches at World Series games, beginning with Woodrow Wilson in 1915, according to CNN.
Since then, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush are among those who have done so.
Bush’s appearance came in Yankee Stadium only weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks.
“I had never had such an adrenaline rush as when I finally made it to the mound. I was saying to the crowd, ‘I’m with you, the country’s with you’ … and I wound up and fired the pitch,” Bush said later, according to MLB.com.
“I’ve been to conventions and rallies and speeches: I’ve never felt anything so powerful and emotions so strong, and the collective will of the crowd so evident.”
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