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After their Monday Opening Day loss to Baltimore, the Red Sox took the hour-long drive down 295 to Washington, D.C., where they were the guest of the most powerful man in the country.
Tuesday afternoon was spent at the White House, where the 2013 World Series team was honored by President Obama.
While presenting the president with a #44 Red Sox jersey donning his name on the back, Big Papi decided to use the rare opportunity to do something any 15-year-old girl would do, take a selfie.
It was all smiles on Tuesday afternoon while the team stood proudly behind the Commander in Chief as he praised them for not only their performance on the field, but for what they brought to the city after the Boston Marathon bombings.
“And we knew last year, even as we mourned the loss and cared for the wounded and resolved to carry on, that the moment would come when the Sox would be champions again and the crowds would gather for a parade down Boylston once more,” he said. “That’s exactly what happened. That’s how this team helped Boston to heal.”
It was some truly powerful stuff coming from the president with the entire team at his back. A moment we never want to relive, but one that we can forever cherish as victory in the face of the greatest adversity, and how sports, however meaningless in the grand scheme of life, can bring such joy.
The president continued his praise for guys like Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, John Lackey, Jon Lester, and “of course, the legend, the only man to play for all three championship teams, the biggest bat in the dugout, Big Papi.” He graciously shook hands with many of the players, as well as manager John Farrell and team owners John W. Henry, Tom Werner, and Larry Lucchino.
Obviously when heading to the most prestigious house in the country, you need to dress your best. Nobody took that advice to heart more than Jonny Gomes, who rocked a “stars and stripes” sport coat, making him look like the most patriotic man in the country.
Gomes apparently bought the coats for everyone, including President Obama. It’s no surprise they all declined to wear them, instead electing to sign one and present it to the president.
“He approved,” Gomes said. “He made sure to tell me he liked it. He thanked me for his, and the team signing it. He definitely approved. He made sure to look me right in the eye and said ‘Nice jacket.’”
Boston headed back up to Baltimore for the second of their three-game opening series against the Orioles on Wednesday night. Riding the high from their White House visit, the Sox cruised to a 6-2 victory, thanks in large part to the familiar bats of Ortiz, Napoli, and Pedroia.
Napoli fueled the offense with four RBI. Last season he tied for the MLB lead with six games of four RBI or more. Pedroia is off to a hot start, contributing four hits in last night’s victory. He’s now 6-10 on the season. Papi was Papi, belting a two-run HR in the 3rd inning off Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.
Manager John Farrell called the trio “three of the better hitters in the league” after the game. Let’s hope they can continue to play like that all season.
After a redeeming 2013 campaign, especially in the post-season, John Lackey pitched a solid outing giving up just two runs over six innings. Boston doesn’t need him to be a Cy Young contender this year, but consistency is key with Lackey.
The boys wrap up their series with Baltimore on Thursday night before heading back to Fenway for their home opener on Friday against the Brewers.
It will be the first time Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun has been on the road this season after serving a 65-game suspension last year for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug rules. He was welcomed with a standing ovation from his home crowd on Monday. This is a whole different conversation for another time, but due to the way Braun acted during this entire situation, let’s just hope his reception isn’t as warm from the Fenway Faithful.