In reporting on the World Series Champion Washington Nationals visiting the White House Monday, reporters and President Donald Trump expressed surprise that a key player on the team wore a MAGA hat. USA Today played the story pretty fairly, but The Washington Post and The Week were decidedly critical.
USA Today writer Chris Bumbaca played up Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki taking the podium and surprising the president by donning a MAGA hat. Trump appeared to be surprised by this and hugged Suzuki from behind. "I love you all. I love you all. Thank you," Suzuki said.
Washington's Ryan Zimmerman also pleased the commander in chief by presenting him with a Nationals jersey with the number they have in common: 45.
"This is an incredible honor I’d like to think none of us will ever forget," Zimmerman said. "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."
Bumbaca ended his short story with mention of team members who chose not to attend the celebration:
"Not all of the Nationals were present. Closer Sean Doolittle was the first player to publicly decline the invitation over the weekend. Other players who did not make an appearance Monday: third baseman Anthony Rendon; outfielders Michael A. Taylor, Victor Robles and Wilmer Difo; and pitchers Joe Ross, Javy Guerra and Wander Suero."
Reporting on Monday's event for The Week, Kathryn Krawczyk expressed a jaded view, starting with her headline: "A lot of weird things happened at the Nationals' White House visit."
"Not every National chose to head to the White House, giving either personal or political reasons for skipping the celebration with President Trump," Krawczyk writes early on in her story. "But Kurt Suzuki was more than happy to be there. When Trump asked him to come up and say a few words, the catcher put on a MAGA hat, threw up his hands in a Trump-like manner, and unexpectedly participated in a Titanic reenactment with the president." She continues:
"Paired with Ryan Zimmerman's thank you to Trump for 'continuing to make America the greatest country to live in the world,' the fan base that had booed Trump at a Nationals home game wasn't too happy. But politics aside, the most disturbing yet unfortunately memorable part of the event happened when the Marine Band broke out its rendition of Baby Shark."
"But even as most of the players joined Trump, several thanking him for the invitation, seven of the 25 players on the active World Series roster were absent, most of them minorities. Relief pitcher Sean Doolittle, who is white, had declared publicly last week that he would opt out over objections to Trump’s rhetoric and policies. All-star third baseman Anthony Rendon, outfielders Victor Robles and Michael A. Taylor and pitchers Joe Ross, Javy Guerra and Wander Suero were among the other Nationals who were not present."
The absence of those seven players "appeared to mark the latest example of the highly politicized nature of such sports ceremonies during Trump’s tenure," the Post's duo added. "Several teams have declined to visit the White House, and others, including the 2018 World Series-winning Boston Red Sox, have been sharply divided, with most of the minority players opting out during a ceremony in the spring."
The Post story noted that Trump drew a laugh from the crowd when he said: “America fell in love with Nats baseball. That’s all they wanted to talk about. That and impeachment. I like Nats baseball much more.”
So petty was the Post at one point that it mentioned a handful of Washington players who are not even on the Nationals' 40-man roster and who did not attend the celebration.
In an utterly classless gutter-level post, Jezebel's Megan Reynolds headlined her putrid post: "Baseball Man Comes Off the Fuck List." She called the Trump hug of Suzuki a "nightmarish grope situation. ... Though I did declare that I would gladly sleep with an entire baseball team if only they would let me, I am amending my public desire thusly: Suzuki is off the fuck list, as are any other Nationals that attended this grotesque display of patriotism."