The Washington Nationals will be missing at least one major contributor when visiting the House on Monday.
Closer Sean Doolittle told The Washington Post’s Jesse Dougherty on Friday that he does not plan to attend the team’s White House visit. Doolittle is the first member of the Nationals to publicly confirm he will not attend the event, currently scheduled for 1:15 p.m. ET on Monday.
The White House announced the visit early in the morning on Friday, two days after the Nationals won their first-ever championship in seven games.
While several more Nationals could still opt out of the visit, it comes as little surprise that Doolittle shot down any possibility of willingly standing behind President Donald Trump and taking part in a photo op for the current administration.
Doolittle has been outspoken on social issues
Since well before he joined the Nationals, Doolittle has been one of the most outwardly liberal players in baseball.
The southpaw and his wife, Eireann Dolan, proactively supported Pride Nights and hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for Syrian refugees during his time with the Oakland Athletics, and have also penned an op-ed on veterans’ issues. Not much has changed since Doolittle and Dolan moved to the nation’s capital.
Doolittle hasn’t spoken out much against Trump specifically, but he did offer a direct repudiation of Trump’s “locker room talk” defense when the infamous “Access Hollywood” tapes rocked Trump’s presidential campaign.
A fan favorite, Doolittle was one of only two reliable options in the Nationals bullpen during the postseason, alongside right-hander Daniel Hudson. The 33-year-old struggled with injuries during the regular season on his way to an iffy 4.05 ERA, but he was a force in the postseason with a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 innings
Nationals fans booed Trump at World Series
Doolittle’s decision figures to be popular with a number of Nationals fans, judging from the Nationals Park crowd’s reaction when Trump was shown on the big screen during Game 5 of the World Series.
Trump was met with vociferous booing and a “Lock him up!” chant in parts of the stadium, with two banners calling for his impeachment popping up at the stadium. A campaign ad for Trump was also loudly booed at the Nationals’ Game 7 watch party.
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