You can read all manner of political statements in between the lines of the announcement that the Cubs will be visiting the White House prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration. I’m not going to stop you from doing so, but the fact of the matter is that the timing is really a matter of convenience. With the organization already gathered in Chicago this weekend for the Cubs Convention and Monday being Martin Luther King Jr Day, it’s just a lot easier to coordinate a trip at this point.
I have no doubt that there are some other complications that will be avoided by paying a visit to the Oval Office sooner rather than later, though I’m not sure how heavily those things weighed in the matter. Speaking of complications, how weird has the Trump/Cubs relationship been over the past year or so?
It started with the president-elect’s Twitter reaction to news that the Ricketts family was funding a super PAC that opposed his campaign.
I hear the Rickets family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $'s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2016
He elaborated on exactly how he’d go after his political rivals when asked about his displeasure during an interview with the Washington Post’s editorial board.
“I’ll start doing ads about their baseball team, Trump explained. “That it’s not properly run or that they haven’t done a good job in the brokerage business lately. I’ll start spending on them. I’ll start taking ads telling them all what a rotten job they’re doing with the Chicago Cubs. I mean, they are spending on me. I mean, so am I allowed to say that?”
Sounds totally legit and not at all odd or shallow or paranoid. But it gets better. The Ricketts family eventually switched allegiances and began backing Trump, a move that probably had nothing to do with Todd Ricketts getting a role as deputy secretary of commerce. Pete Ricketts, a republican, is the governor of Nebraska, and Laura Ricketts was an outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton. Tom, the most visible and active of the siblings when it comes to the Cubs, has been pretty low-key on this front.
All families have divisions or differences of opinion, this one just happens to have a good deal more notoriety than most. Cubs players surely fall into different political camps as well, with some leaning liberal while others call for celebrities to move across the border. Given the charged nature of the political climate, it’s probably best for everyone to get this formality out of the way and then turn their attention back to baseball.
The real key in all of this, though, is that we’re having a conversation about the timing of a White House visit because THE CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES.