“It really brings into play the President’s strange relationship with baseball,” Margaret Talev of Axios said. “He was actually really good at baseball as a child, so much so that he wrote a poem about it once.”
Unlike the national football and basketball leagues, Major League Baseball has mostly managed to stay out of the Trump-era culture wars.
“It’s not been as front and center in some of these controversies about players kneeling to protest or make remarks about social movements. And it’s a pretty neutral crowd politically. Surveys show your average baseball fan is maybe moderate or leans center-right,” Talev said.
But at least one Washington Nationals player has already said he plans to skip the event. Pitcher Sean Doolittle, who’s been outspoken in his support for immigrants and the LGBTQ community, said he can’t go to the White House because of Trump’s rhetoric. He told The Washington Post that he has a brother-in-law who’s autistic, and that he remains offended by Trump’s mocking of a disabled reporter during the 2016 presidential campaign.