Houston Astros star second baseman José Altuve always gets discounted for his height. It was the thing that made him a non-prospect in the eyes of the evaluators. And even though he won the MVP award last season, people still bring up his size.
Sure enough, Altuve’s height — he’s listed at 5-6 — was a topic during the team’s trip to meet President Donald Trump at the White House.
Trump mentions “the amazing José Altuve.” He then turns to acknowledge Altuve, shakes his hand, locks thumbs to bring things closer, pats him on the shoulder and says, “Much taller than I thought.” All the Astros behind Trump were standing on elevated platforms.
The exchange did draw a smile from most of the Astros, including Altuve. Getting him to smile should be considered a big accomplishment, as he spent most of the event looking less than enthused.
There’s more than just Altuve’s sullen expression, though. At the end of the event, Trump turned around and shook hands with members of the team. It looks as though Altuve was skipped.
It’s tough to tell who’s to blame there. Did Trump pass over Altuve due to his body language during the event? Or did Altuve refuse to extend his hand?
The whole thing was made even more awkward when you realize Altuve didn’t have to go. A few key Astros skipped out on the meeting, including shortstop Carlos Correa, designated hitter Carlos Beltran and reliever Ken Giles. Beltran said his reason for missing the trip wasn’t due to Trump. Both Correa and Giles had family obligations, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The Venezuelan-born Altuve is the face of the team, and was the American League MVP. His absence would have been noted and required an explanation.
Altuve not going could have had other consequences as well. When Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry said he didn’t want to go to the White House, Trump rescinded the invite, which set off a national firestorm that included LeBron James calling Trump a “bum.”
In the end, Altuve was there. And based on what happened, it makes you wonder if going to the event may draw more attention than if he had just skipped.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik
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