Astros undecided on a White House visit

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The Houston Astros are back home and, earlier today, while preparing for their World Series parade, met the media. One question asked of several on the team: whether they would visit the White House if President Donald Trump extends an invitation.

Such visits are common for title-winning teams, but in the past year many athletes have said they would not visit due to their opposition to Trump. The NBA champion Golden State Warriors did not make the trip after being disinvited by Trump, though many said they wouldn’t go anyway. No matter the case, the once-rote ceremony of meeting the president after winning a title is no longer necessarily rote.

Manager A.J. Hinch said that, given the celebratory mood in Houston now, he didn’t want to make any decisions on that. It makes sense, given that no matter what the club decides, someone is going to be unhappy. The country is as polarized as all get-out these days and the day of your big party is not when you want to anger people.

As for the individual players, World Series MVP George Springer says he will go if the team goes. So too did Dallas Keuchel. Third baseman Alex Bregman said he’d follow whatever two of his teammates decide, saying “I’m going to do whatever Carlos Beltran and Carlos Correa do.”

That’s an interesting response from Bregman, who has been sharply critical of Trump in the past. It’s all the more interesting given that Trump is, to say the least, not a popular figure among Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria. It would not be shocking if Beltran, who may be retiring anyway, said he wasn’t going to go. Correa hasn’t spoken on the matter. No one with the Astros has taken CC Sabathia’s approach and issued a preemptive rejection of a White House visit.

My guess: most of the Astros will go and, among those who don’t, there won’t be any grand public proclamation about it. If there are any no-shows, it wouldn’t surprise me if they cited a prior engagement or a schedule conflict at the time. Ballplayers, in general, lean farther right than other athletes. Ballplayers who don’t are still nonetheless loathe to make waves. It’s just how they tend to roll.

Whatever happens, the Astros have a long time to think about it. White House visits tend to take place when the championship team visits either Baltimore or Washington. The Astros only visit Baltimore once next year. It’s their very last series of the season, September 27-30.

 

Donald Trump wants Curt Schilling in the Hall of Fame

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We’ve talked a lot about Curt Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy over the years.

Bill has argued that, if voters are going to use the character clause to keep certain players out, they should keep Curt Schilling out. I’ve differed on that, not because I think Schilling is a good person — he’s loathsome, actually — but because I find the character clause to be illegitimate and would never, if I had a vote, use it to impact my vote. So, yes, I’d put Schilling on my ballot if I had one.

I’m not alone in this, of course. At the moment Schilling has support on about 72% of ballots which have been made public. My guess is that he’ll fall a tad short when results are announced tomorrow — non-public ballots tend to include fewer players on them — but we’ll see.

I am not the only non-BBWAA member who would vote for Schilling. He’s got some top level support too. From the President of the United States:

Ballots had to be submitted by December 31, so it’s not like this is gonna have any impact on the vote totals. If it came earlier, though, one wonders if it would. And one wonders if that’d help Schilling or hurt him.