The second full week in February will be a busy one for the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox will celebrate their 2018 World Series championship by visiting the White House on Feb. 15, the team announced Tuesday. That's just three days after pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers, Fla., for spring training and just two days after Boston's first official workout.
So, why are the Red Sox heading to Washington, D.C. so early? Team president Sam Kennedy broke down the logistics Wednesday in an interview on WEEI's "Dale & Keefe" radio show.
"This was the date that was preferred by (manager) Alex Cora, (president of baseball operations) Dave Dombrowski and the coaching staff,” Kennedy said. “We wanted to set it up earlier rather than later. Some years in the past, we went during April or May when we’ve played down in Baltimore. Those always seemed a little bit stale. There was quite some time between the championship and the visit. So, we wanted to do it during the winter.
"We looked at the possibility of doing it after Winter Weekend, which is this weekend (Jan. 18-20), but this is the date everyone will be in Fort Myers. We’re going to do a charter from Fort Myers up to Washington D.C. and back in the same day. It’s actually most convenient to players and their spouses."
Major league teams can choose when they visit the Oval Office after the World Series; the Houston Astros went in March last year, while the Chicago Cubs visited in January 2017 and the Kansas City Royals waited until July 2016.
Boston previously has done the customary visit during the regular season but apparently would like to get it out of the way early this year.
The visit isn't mandatory, and several unidentified players have said they won't attend, according to The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham. But Kennedy insisted the Red Sox will leave politics out of the equation when they meet with President Donald Trump.
"Just like in the past, I’m sure there will be players who chose not to go, who do go," Kennedy said. "We’ve been pretty consistent and clear about this. This is an honor and a privilege to be invited to the White House. We’ve tried to not make it a political statement."
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