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Yes, The Cubs Are Going To The White House Again. Well, Some Of Them.

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 28, 2017 4:05PM

Cubs Manager Joe Maddon / Getty Images / Photo: Rob Carr

Your world champion Chicago Cubs have already visited the White House once, back in January, in the waning days of the Obama administration. When they go back, it won't be a full roster. When they return on Wednesday afternoon, now to President Donald Trump's White House, not every player will be in tow. At least ten players told the Sun-Times on Tuesday that they plan on not attending.

Reasons for the various no-go's were mostly pretty cagey, as you might assume. But there definitely seemed to be stadium-sized room left between the lines in some comments. "Some guys didn't go last time. Some guys aren't going this time," outfielder Jason Heyward said. Relief pitcher Pedro Strop told the Sun-Times, "I just don't feel like I want to go."

Two players who skipped last time—Jake Arrieta and Hector Rondon—are skipping again. Pitcher John Lackey didn't go for former President Barack Obama, but is going this time, according to the Sun-Times.

Depending on your perspective, manager Joe Maddon sounded either like the paragon of the company man (if you're feeling ungenerous) or someone caught in an impossible situation (if you're not). The Cubs are of course owned by members of the Ricketts family who (save for Laura) are Trump supporters—although we can remember a time when it wasn't quite so cozy. (Joe Ricketts also owns DNAinfo, which acquired Gothamist LLC, which publishes Chicagoist, in 2017.)

"Whatever Mr. Ricketts would like me to do, I’m going to do," Maddon said, according to ESPN. "Part of it is that, and part of it is whenever you have a chance to get to the White House, I think it’s easy to say yes, out of respect to the office and the building itself."

He continued, saying, "I like the United States a lot." He also said his taking part was not a political statement—which got some pushback.

The White House event is "unofficial" and voluntary. The visit will reportedly be a smaller affair than the one in January or the usual champion-team visit, which also means no press.

The decision for teams whether to visit the White House has grown more fraught in the time of Trump. Nearly half of the NFL champion New England Patriots skipped their official visit; and tens of thousands have signed a petition urging all members of the NBA champ Golden State Warriors to no-show.

Update: And now there are photos of the Cubs with Trump, looking happy and having other emotions: