In a recent interview, Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa, who currently serves as a vice president for the Boston Red Sox, defended his team’s decision to visit the White House last month.
The 2018 World Series champion Red Sox met with President Donald Trump and toured 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in May.
La Russa, who was asked about the experience by TMZ this week, spoke out in support of his country.
“Anything that represents the United States is a good experience,” he said.
“The flag, anthem, White House — anything that represents our government, we support,” he added.
A handful of Red Sox players and personnel from the championship team did not make the trip.
Among those who declined to visit the White House were outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr., catchers Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon, infielder Eduardo Nunez and pitcher David Price, as well as team manager Alex Cora.
La Russa, who won the World Series thrice as a manager (1989, 2006 and 2011) had visited the White House on two occasions following his team’s championships.
First, he met then-President George H.W. Bush after leading the Oakland A’s to the 1989 championship, and nearly two decades later, after the St. Louis Cardinals won the 2006 World Series, he met with then-President George W. Bush.
However, he did not meet with former President Barack Obama after the Cardinals’ 2011 World Series win, since he had retired from managing after the season ended and was no longer part of the organization, according to ESPN.
La Russa never made his reason to not attend political.
In fact, La Russa told the Bay Area News Group in 2017 he thinks players should leave politics out of the decision.
“I have a very strong opinion that it’s a celebration of our championship and we’re being asked to celebrate with the leader of our country,” he said. “By the way, I went there to dinner a couple of times. And when you go there, you have members of Congress from both sides from your area who are there. It’s not strictly the president.”
“I’d say don’t get distracted by stuff that doesn’t directly relate to what we accomplished.”
La Russa deserves credit for leaving politics out of the discussion and being grateful to visit the White House again.
It’s not an opportunity every pro athlete receives, though some have squandered it out of pettiness in recent years.
The Golden State Warriors skipped the traditional White House visit after winning the NBA Finals in 2017, and the Philadelphia Eagles did not visit after winning the Super Bowl in 2018.
Also, some players from teams like the Red Sox and 2017 Super Bowl champion New England Patriots refused to make the trip as well.
The people who skipped out put their personal political views first; those who did not, including La Russa, enjoyed a special experience.
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