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Alex Cora won’t visit White House with Red Sox

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Red Sox manager Alex Cora will not attend the Red Sox’ World Series celebration ceremony at the White House on Thursday, citing President Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico. Cora’s statement:

“The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a long ways to go. That’s our reality. It’s pretty tough to go celebrate when we’re where we’re at. I’d rather not go and be consistent with everything.”

Cora had been going back and forth on the matter but, after talking with family and friends, decided against going. He informed the Red Sox of his decision a few days ago. The team has been supportive of players who want to go and who do not want to go, allowing everyone to decide based on their conscience. Here’s what Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy had to say to the Boston Herald:

“We fully support Alex and respect his decision. He and I have discussed this issue frequently since last November, and I know it was a hard decision for him. I am grateful to (principal owner) John (Henry) and (chairman) Tom (Werner) for creating a culture where we discuss these issues openly, and encourage individual decision-making. I appreciate Alex for talking openly with our team and supporting those who are looking forward to being honored on Thursday.”

Several other Red Sox players have already indicated that they would not be going, including Mookie Betts, David Price, Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., Hector Velázquez and Sandy León.

The once routine post-championship visits with the president have become anything but routine since Donald Trump took office. After the Astros won the World Series in 2017 Puerto Rican natives Carlos Beltrán and Carlos Correa chose not to attend the celebratory visit to the White House for the same reasons Cora cites. The Golden State Warriors chose not to attend, after which Trump claimed to have disinvited them. So few members of the Philadelphia Eagles planned to attend after their Super Bowl victory that the White House canceled the event.

Such is life in 2019.

Roger Clemens says he’s not running for Congress

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Apparently some people in Texas wanted Roger Clemens to run for Congress? At least enough people to where Clemens felt it necessary to tell Pete Olson, the congressman whose seat is going vacant due to his retirement, that, no, he had no interest in running for it.

From ESPN:

“The climate in politics at this time is much more than I would want to undertake, along with my family considerations,” Clemens said in a message to Olson that was obtained by ABC News.

“I am a Republican and I support our President and will continue to do so,” Clemens said. “No matter who our President may be, I will continue my support of them and root for them to be successful, just as I did when President Obama was in office.”

That’s a pretty diplomatic answer from Clemens. But even if he did not have family concerns and even if the “climate” disinterested him, I’m struggling to imagine Clemens as a viable political candidate in the first place.

For as good a pitcher as he was — and for as generally popular as he may be in Texas — the guy has some serious baggage, right? And I mean that beyond just the broad arc of the PEDs controversy that surrounded him for so long. The specifics of that controversy spun off his indictment for perjury before Congress, for example. He was acquitted — and I think it was a proper acquittal — but that was not exactly his finest hour.

It also led to a nasty battle of defamation lawsuits with a drug dealer that, remarkably, caused Clemens to come off way worse than the drug dealer, and that’s quite a trick. That whole process also revealed that he had an extraordinarily problematic extra-marital relationship with a now-dead country music singer. In all, it was a profound, 100% self-inflicted, reputation-trashing, public relations disaster that, even years later, he has taken no responsibility for. It was the sort of episode that, in addition to the ammo it might give any political opponent he may have, calls into serious questions Clemens’ judgment and sense of strategy, both of which are things that, to put it lightly, can be useful in politics.

Clemens, of course, is not going to cite any of those things as a reason for not wanting to run for office, nor does he have to. His simple “no” is all he needs to say and he can go back doing whatever it is he does for the Houston Astros.

But I am struggling mightily to understand why those people who are apparently encouraging him to run for office are doing so despite all of that being out there on the record. Is fame all that matters in politics now? Is a win bought by fame the be-all and end-all, even it means electing a candidate who is profoundly compromised both ethically and morally?

Haha, just kidding. You don’t need to answer that. I think we already know the answer.