US President Donald J. Trump (R) shakes hands with Houston Astro second baseman Jose Altuve (L) during a ceremony to honor the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, Mar. 12, 2018. EPA-EFE/SHAWN THEW
Washington, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- The apparent tension on Monday between Venezuelan second baseman Jose Altuve and President Donald Trump marked the White House reception for the Houston Astros, who won the World Series last year.
Altuve, the American League’s Most Valuable Player, remained serious during Trump’s remarks but experienced an uncomfortable moment at the end of the official reception in the White House East Wing.
Upon ending his lighthearted and congratulatory remarks, Trump turned to shake the hands of several players, including Josh Reddick and World Series Most Valuable Player George Springer, both of whom were standing near Altuve, who kept his hands in his pockets when he saw the president moving to greet him and his teammates.
The episode occurred after Trump congratulated Altuve, whom he called “amazing” and joking about the Venezuelan’s height of 1.68 meters (5 feet 5 inches).
“He’s much taller than I thought,” said Trump to laughter from those in attendance.
On this occasion, Trump and the second baseman did indeed shake hands, although Altuve maintained his serious expression.
The Venezuelan had decided to attend the event, something that his Puerto Rican teammates Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran elected not to do.
Correa, the winner of the Rookie of the Year award, was the most noteworthy absence among the Astros, who excused his no-show status by telling EFE that he had “family commitments.”
Josh Reddick, the player tasked with presenting to Trump an Astros jersey with No. 17 on it, told reporters that every player is free to do what he wants when it comes to attending a presidential reception, or not.
The other no-show, Beltran, admitted his discomfort with the federal government over its handling to date of Puerto Rico’s recovery after the devastating passage of Hurricane Maria last September.
Beltran, who is now retired, had said in February when he announced that he would not attend the White House reception as a protest that there was no doubt that he was disappointed in the administration, adding that he was not the only one feeling that way.
The two absences and Altuve’s serious demeanor, however, were the only snags in the Astros’ visit to the US capital.
“The Yankees were good and they were tough. They were about as tough as anybody, but you guys were just a little bit tougher. So congratulations,” Trump said to the Astros, referring to their New York rivals in the World Series.