The scene at the White House on Monday was, like everything in Washington in 2019, both awkward and fascinating.
The Washington Nationals — most of them, anyway — had gathered en masse to receive the congratulations of their president for winning the World Series. That president was in his purest element, his most beloved role: that of benevolent casino greeter, welcoming one and all to admire his great, great establishment. In the course of the ceremony, the Nats’ Kurt Suzuki stepped to the podium, donned a MAGA hat, and accepted an incredibly strange grope-from-behind from President Trump as the team applauded and the base swooned.
Let’s call it right there: Suzuki’s appearance marks the official time of death of the sorry phrase “stick to sports.” Nobody’s sticking to sports anymore. Moreover, nobody should. Like leather helmets, two-handed set shots and TV broadcasts that didn’t show the score onscreen, “stick to sports” is a relic of an earlier era, a more naive and unconnected time.
To be clear: there’s nothing inherently wrong with Suzuki’s decision to plant himself firmly in the Trump camp, any more than there’s nothing inherently wrong with teammates like Sean Doolittle skipping the White House event.