The Nationals are proud Nationalists

by John Boruk

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Who knew the Washington Nationals were actually nationalists?

The 2019 World Series Champions proved that on Monday during their visit to the White House in celebration of beating the Houston Astros in an epic seven-game series.

It was a stark contrast to the cold reception Nationals fans gave President Trump during Game 5 as they loudly booed POTUS with chants of “Lock him up!” 

While there were was an expected handful of players who skipped out on the celebratory trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., the majority of the players and even manager Dave Martinez, born to Puerto Rican parents, was in attendance.

The highlights of the Nationals trip was Trump’s awkward embrace of catcher Kurt Suzuki, a fourth generation Japanese American, who brought a red “Make America Great Again” hat with him and slipped it on his head as he stepped to the podium.  

Trump’s reach around seemed to be the type of embrace reserved for his wife Melania, but we’ll just leave that for the Lincoln bedroom.

Ryan Zimmerman presented Trump with a personalized jersey with the number “45” on the back and seemed appreciative of Trump’s pledge of securing the border.

“We’d also like to thank you for keeping everyone here safe in our country, and continuing to make America the greatest country to live in the world,” Zimmerman told the crowd.

Zimmerman and the Nationals are further proof that baseball organizations are much more embracing of Trump and his America first policies than other organizations. Unlike the NFL and NBA, no World Series champion has declined a White House invitation during the Trump Administration since the Astros first attended in 2017. 

However, there was opposition. 

Closer Sean Doolittle was the first player to publicly decline the invitation over the weekend saying, “There’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country,” Doolittle told The Washington Post.

“At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it,” Doolittle added. “I just can’t do it.”

According to Washington Post Nationals beat writer Jesse Doughterty the team left the White House “without speaking to, or being within 100 feet of any reporters.” 

And of course the Twitterverse became absolutely livid and irate how the Nationals could display one ounce of support for their President.

Other players who stood by Doolittle by not joining their teammates included third baseman Anthony Rendon; outfielders Michael A. Taylor, Victor Robles and Wilmer Difo, pitchers Joe Ross, Javy Guerra and Wander Suero.

Moving forward it will be interesting to see how the World Champs are received in front of their Trump-hating fanbase when they unveil their championship banner in their 2020 home opener.

Can you imagine a home team crowd booing their own?

Nothing would be more D.C. than that.