On January 25, with the federal government amidst a 35-day shutdown, the Red Sox made the decision to postpone their visit to the White House, which had been scheduled for February 15. Within hours, the legislative and executive branches agreed to reopen the federal government.
“It was amazing timing. We literally had the conversation [with the White House to postpone the visit] and a few hours later, the shutdown at least was suspended,” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said prior to a luncheon to support the Foundation To Be Named Later, a non-profit that supports disadvantage youth and their families through health, education, and leadership development in Boston and Chicago. “My mom … wants to give us credit for that.”
Such credit might be far-fetched, but the Red Sox are relieved that they made the decision to push the slated February 15 visit to May 9, during the team’s first trip of the year to Baltimore. After all, the move to temporarily fund the government faces a February 15 deadline.
“Looking back, it was appropriate to do what we did. We’ll see where we go from here,” said Kennedy. “Talking to our players, I really hope it’s not going to be a divisive issue because it’s such a tight group. I think they each understand. Some players feel strongly that they want to go. Others feel strongly that they don’t want to go. That’s why from management and ownership, it’s not a mandatory thing.
“We’ve been three times [after the 2004, 2007, and 2013 championships]. It’s sad that it’s become sort of a divisive issue, but our approach … has been, this is about the players,” added Kennedy. “It’s not about the owners or the management’s political views or feelings about policies or an individual. It’s really a recognition of players who came together to win a World Series championship. We don’t want to deny players who want to go and be honored that opportunity. We’ll see what happens.”
Though the new date is now in place, it remains unclear whether Red Sox manager Alex Cora – who has expressed concern about the White House’s policies towards and treatment of relief efforts following Hurricane Maria in his native Puerto Rico – will be among those in attendance.
“I’m going to do what’s right. We’ll see,” said Cora. “We’ve got to wait and see.”