|President Trump holding up the Red Sox jersey that was presented to him. @WhiteHouse.|
The World Champion Boston Red Sox visited the White House and President Donald J. Trump on Thursday.
Last season, the Red Sox won a franchise-record 108 games in the regular season before beating the Yankees and Houston Astros in the American League postseason, and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
President Trump called the Red Sox "A very special group of people. A very special team," and added, "Each Red Sox player is a shining example of excellence, living out an American sporting tradition that goes back many generations. From the open fields of our rich farmlands to the playgrounds and the vacant lots of our great cities, kids everywhere learn to catch fly balls, swing for the fences, and race to home plate. Baseball is truly America’s pastime.
"I love it. I don’t know — I guess everyone out there loves it. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t. But I love it. It’s a special — it’s a special game, a special sport. I played on a slightly different level. It’s called “on high school.” A little different level, but every spring I loved it. The smell in the air, right? Does that make sense? The smell in the air, right? It’s an amazing feeling.
"Through every pitch, inning, game, and series, the 2018 Red Sox never gave up and never backed down. You always played like champions. This is a great champion right here, too. This is some champion. I want to congratulate you all on your spectacular victory."
The President continued, "We’re also delighted to be joined by the senior leadership of Fenway Sports Group and the Boston Red Sox, John Henry. A great, great businessman. John, thank you very much. Great businessman.
"Tom Werner, a man who has done a fantastic job in life. Where the hell is he? Tom. Mike Gordon, Sam Kennedy, and David Dombrowski. Thanks, fellas. Fantastic. (Applause.) Fantastic job. Great. To all the coaches and players of the Red Sox: Congratulations on your incredible victory.
"The team has just come from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where they visited our wounded heroes and wounded warriors. And they believe very strongly in that.
"I want to thank the entire Red Sox organization for your longstanding support for those American service members who have suffered the wounds of war to keep our country safe and strong and free. And we’ve never had a stronger military, right now. This is the strongest it’s been — $716 billion we spent last year, John. That’s a lot of money, even for you, right? Would you say? That’s a lot of money.
"Over the course of the 2018 season, the Red Sox were — frankly, they were unstoppable. I watched. You outscored your opponents by 229 runs and won 108 games in the regular season — the most in Red Sox history. You’ve got a lot of fans over here. You’ve got a lot of fans, huh? That’s a lot of fans they have.
"In the playoffs, you bested your archrival, the Yankees. I think I’ll be a neutral on this one, huh? (referencing his allegiance to the pinstripes) But you did. You beat them, and beat the defending champions, the Astros — another great team — taking home the American League pennant and clinching a spot in the World Series.
"After taking a two-game lead at historic Fenway Park to start the Series, you headed to Los Angeles for Game 3. I was at Fenway Park; I threw out the first pitch a long time ago. And George Steinbrenner was not happy about it. (Laughter.) That cooled my relationship with him for about two days. But he forgot about it. That was good.
"But you headed to Los Angeles for Game 3. For 7 hours and 20 minutes, you faced the Dodgers in one of the most exciting games in postseason history.
"It was in the 12th inning that relief pitcher Nathan Eovaldi — where’s Nathan? Where is Nathan? That was — that was a good job he did. Did you ever see such good-looking people behind me, too? Not the owners; forget the owners. (Laughter.) He stepped up to the mound. Over the final seven innings, Nathan threw 97 pitches, allowed only 3 hits, and struck out 5 batters. Nathan, that’s a great performance. We watched it. It was a dominant performance. Congratulations. (Applause.)
"Though you ultimately lost Game 3 by a single run, Eovaldi’s tremendous effort inspired the whole team. You knew what a World Series victory was, you knew it was in reach, and you didn’t want to do anything to blow it. And that’s what happened.
"But then in Game 4, after the Dodgers scored four unanswered runs, things were looking very grim. In the dugout, your starting pitcher, Chris Sale — who, by the way, last night, struck out 14 batters. That’s pretty good, right? No, I said, “How’s Chris doing?” “Well, he struck out 14 last night.” I said, “Fourteen?” I never heard about 14. I said, “Was that your best?” He said “No.” Fifteen is your best, right? That’s called a power pitcher, by the way.
"In the dugout, your starting pitcher, Chris, decided to give the team a little pep talk. Are you an emotional guy? Pretty much, huh? Because I heard it was a hell of a pep talk. Give us a little pep talk every once and a while. (Laughter.)
"With great passion, Chris shouted, pointed to the field, and rallied the Red Sox. And, Chris, I know what you said. I heard little things about your — what you said. And we have children here, so I’m not going to talk about it. (Laughter.) But it worked. It really worked.
"World Series MVP Steve Pearce tied it up. (Applause.) He tied it up and — with a home run. You’re doing well this year? Pretty well this year, right? Huh? (Laughter.) He’s doing well this year. When it counts, he really does well. Those are the ones we really like, huh? Followed by three RBIs in the ninth, the Sox won — 9 to 6 — and never looked back.
"Chris Sale then returned to the mound for the final game. With two outs and a one-and-two count in the bottom of the ninth, against a great hitter, Sale stared down the batter, wound up, and delivered an amazing slider. Was that a slider? (Laughter.) You gave up the fastball? And the batter went down swinging and the Red Sox won the World Series. (Applause.) Right? It’s pretty good, huh? It’s pretty good.
"In 2004, the Red Sox achieved their first World Series victory in 86 years. You quickly won two more in 2007, 2013. With your victory over the Dodgers, you now have won more World Series than any other team in this century. That’s pretty good, huh? Must be the ownership, too. I don’t know. I know these owners are great.
"In the same period, Boston teams have won six Super Bowls, as well as an NBA and an NHL championship. And this has to be a great time for Boston’s fans. If you think of it, what Boston has done in a short period of time is pretty amazing — in a lot of ways, but in sports, certainly. Congratulations. That’s great...
"And I just want to have Chris Sale and J.D. Martinez — two outstanding players and athletes and people — come up and say a few words. And then, after that, I’m going to take — unless the team doesn’t want to do it — you know, they never get to see Lincoln Bedroom. It’s like, sort of, you’re not supposed to be showing it. So if the press, the media, doesn’t report me for this, I’m going to take them up and show them the Lincoln Bedroom. They wanted to see the Lincoln Bedroom. So I’m going to give the tour myself. Okay"(Laughter.)
Chris Sale, who went went 12-4 and beat the Yankees in the opening game of the ALDS, pitched well in the playoffs overall, and then threw the final inning of the World Series, said, "Well, Mr. President, on behalf of the Boston Red Sox organization, we’d like to thank you for having us here to celebrate our 2018 World Series Championship team. We’d like to thank our — obviously, our spouses, our family members, and friends, and our fans for coming here. This is a very high honor. It’s something that we appreciate very highly. And thank you again."
J.D. Martinez, who hit .330 with 43 home runs and 130 RBI in 2018, his first season in Boston, said, "I just want to say thank you, Mr. President, for this once in a lifetime opportunity to be honored today here at the White House. And I know celebrating a Red Sox victory is tough for you, given that you’re a Yankee fan and all. (Laughter.) But we really want to say thank you for your hospitality today. And we brought you a gift: this Red Sox jersey," which they then presented to the President.
|J.D. Martinez at the podium. @WhiteHouse.|
Red Sox owner John Henry said, "Well, once again, I want to congratulate this group of men who — and women — who put together the best Red Sox team in history last year. And I thank you. But, of course, we — we would not have been successful over the years in winning these titles without the fans of the Red Sox who are global. We often hear and see service men who are serving across the world who are tuning in to Red Sox games. And it’s a truly remarkable phenomenon around the world and throughout the United States that — how loyal and how committed Red Sox fans are. And they’re the reason that we have the resources to be successful. And thank you, Mr. President, for this honor today. It really is an honor. And thank you."
President Trump concluded the ceremony by saying, "I want to thank everybody for being here. A very, very special group. And I want to thank the families of the players — because without the families, it just wouldn’t work. You know that. They wouldn’t be up here. It would never work. Thank you all for being here. It’s a tremendous honor to have you in the White House. And we’re going to look at the Lincoln Bedroom. Thank you. Thank you everybody."
As Martinez mentioned, President Trump is a renowned Yankees fan and had a great relationship with legendary owner George Steinbrenner, but he also was impacted by the Red Sox as a young man, as Curt Smith recounted in book The Presidents and the Pastime: The History of Baseball and the White House (Nebraska University Press, 504 pages, $24.95): “Trump resembled Pete Rose via Dustin Pedroia by way of Enos Slaughter – the most never-say-die kid in town. The Washington Post wrote, ‘Trump’s uniform was often the dirtiest on the field, and he shrugged off foul balls clanging off his mask.’…According to two boyhood neighbors, the Post continued, when making an out he could erupt, hitting another boy or smashing a baseball bat, without apology. By sixth grade Trump was such a feared right-hand pull hitter that rival teams shifted to left field. ‘If he had hit the ball to right, he could’ve had a home run because no one was there.’ said schoolmate Nicholas Kass. ‘But he always wanted to hit the ball through people. He wanted to overpower them.’
“All the traits that in 2016 made Trump loved or loathed loomed early: defiance, work, study, rage. So did his love of ball. In sixth grade he wrote a poem, published in his yearbook:
“‘I like to hear the crowd give cheers,
so loud and noisy to my ears.
When the score is 5-5, I feel like I could cry.
And when they get another run, I feel like I could die.
Then the catcher makes an error,
not a bit like Yogi Berra.
The game is over and we say
tomorrow is another day.’
“Rhyming ‘error’ with ‘Berra’ suggests that Trump preferred action to reflection, an attitude that by 2016 made his net worth between $10 billion (his estimate) and $3.0 billion (Bloomberg’s). In 1987 Trump released his first book, The Art of the Deal, which topped the best-seller list, built name recognition, and became the philosophy that led to the White House door.
“In 1964 the Red Sox visited the New York Military Academy to talk with Trump about delaying college. Again he chose ‘real money’ over baseball money, spending the next two years at Fordham University in the Bronx.”