Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora confirmed Sunday that he will not attend a White House ceremony honoring the team's 2018 World Series championship, citing the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Maria in his native Puerto Rico.
"The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a long ways to go," Cora told reporters Sunday following Boston's 9-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox. "That's our reality. It's pretty tough to go celebrate when we're where we're at. I'd rather not go and be consistent with everything."
The 43-year-old Cora, who played for six teams over a 14-year career in the big leagues, had suggested previously that he might attend the ceremony and make remarks about the Trump administration's response to the disaster. However, he said Sunday that he had a change of heart after speaking with family and friends.
"We talked about it and decided [not going] was the best way to do it," he said. The category 4 storm slammed Puerto Rico in September 2017, causing more than $100 billion in damage, according to estimates. Many elected officials in Puerto Rico have criticized the Trump administration for not moving fast enough to help the island recover and Census Bureau data published last month showed that Puerto Rico's population fell by nearly 4 percent after the storm hit.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts also said on Sunday he won't visit the White House.
The Red Sox are planning to visit the White House Thursday, a scheduled day off after the team wraps up a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.
Boston won 108 games during the regular season and defeated the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers en route to capturing the franchise's ninth world championship, its fourth in the past 15 years. Cora became the first Puerto Rico-born manager to skipper a World Series winner and just the fifth to win a title in his first season as a manager.
Sunday's win improved the Red Sox record to 17-18, five games behind the American League East-leading Tampa Bay Rays.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.