Oregon State University’s 2018 men’s baseball team traveled to Washington D.C. on Nov. 22, 2019 to meet with President Donald Trump in a ceremony in honor of their success in the 2018 NCAA national championship.
Of the 35 members of the winning team, 34 traveled to Washington D.C., as well as Pat Casey, the retired 2018 baseball coach. This is the second time an OSU men’s baseball team has traveled to Washington D.C, following the 2007 team who won the NCAA championship that year.
OSU’s 2018 men’s baseball team went in place of the 2019 national champions, the Vanderbilt University men’s baseball team after they declined to attend the ceremony. The same ceremony had not been held in 2018, so Oregon State’s invitation came on shorter notice than under regular circumstances and was held 17 months after winning the championship.
Pat Casey, former OSU men’s baseball coach, said in a Tweet on Nov. 21st, “I want to thank all the men on the 2018 championship team for rallying once again in Washington D.C.! You were WARRIORS then, now and forever! Love you men! I will never forget you!”
The official Twitter page for OSU Baseball, @BeaverBaseball, received several comments online advocating a boycott, like from Robert Martinez, @RobertMtz, on Nov. 20, 2019.
“They should absolutely be honored but not by this current administration. They should boycott it. Oregon State is better than this,” Martinez tweeted.
These comments arose from the controversy around Trump, and other White House employees.
Current OSU assistant baseball coach Patrick Bailey said he felt the trip was about celebrating the team, and there was not a political stance involved in their decision to visit the U.S. capital.
“The baseball team going to Washington D.C. had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the celebration of our 2018 National Championship,” Patrick Bailey said in a statement via email.
Several winning teams have protested or declined to attend the NCAA ceremony in Washington D.C. since the inauguration of Trump. One of the teams that declined the invitation was the winning 2019 University of Virginia men’s basketball team. Additionally, during the Nov. 22 ceremony, students from the Columbia University fencing team attempted to hand a letter to the president, and wore large white lapel pins in protest of Trump’s alleged gender-based prejudice.
Speaking on behalf of the experience the team had on the trip, Bailey said, “We had an amazing time with our baseball family. The 2018 team was a very close knit group and it was great to see them get back together and interact with each other. It is an experience that our players and our coaching staff will never forget.”