The defending World Champion Chicago Cubs are in town to play the Nationals this week, and when in DC, you do the kinds of things that DC people do. You go to the White House.
Unless of course, you really, really don’t want to.
That philosophy seems to encapsulate how Cubs Manager Joe Maddon plans on playing the Cubs trip to the White House. Maddon pledged to make the team visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, “absolutely voluntary.”
When asked about the Cubs trip and why they’re going, Maddon said, “A lot of it probably has to do with the fact that the Ricketts family is tied in there really well. Whatever Mr. Ricketts would like me to do I’m gonna do. Mr. Ricketts and the Ricketts family has been good to all of us.
“Part of that is that, and the other part is whenever you have a chance to go to the White House, I think it’s easy to say yes out of respect to the office.”
The Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs, is quite politically active. “Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts donated to Trump’s campaign, and his brother, Pete Ricketts, is the Republican governor of Nebraska who stumped with Vice President Pence during the 2016 campaign. Todd Ricketts was nominated by President Trump to serve as deputy commerce secretary, but withdrew his name from consideration due to conflicts with family-run enterprises.
“Laura Ricketts, meanwhile, is a prominent Democratic fund-raiser and was instrumental in the Cubs visiting the White House before Obama left office.”
The voluntary trip to the White House by the Cubs, if a significant number of Cubs go, could be the latest example of a softening of the stances from championship sports teams towards the Trump White House. The Pittsburgh Penguins clearly stated after their Stanley Cup victory that they would attend the White House if invited.
Vociferous Trump critic Steve Kerr even said that some good could come from the NBA Champion Warriors making the trip to DC.
Maddon closed by offering his insight on why it’s good to go to the White House regardless of who happens to be president:
Listen, I like the United States a lot, I like living here a lot, I like everything that it represents a lot. So when you get a chance as a citizen to get to go to the White House, you go. I think you go.
Whether you like the person that’s running the country or not, out of respect to the office itself, you go. I don’t agree with all the other banter that’s going on right now because I have a different perspective. I would much prefer living here than some of the other places that adopt different methods of government. I think sometimes that gets confused and people want to make a stand and not really realize what we actually have–which is a lot better than most other places.