This Thursday, the defending World Series champion Royals will visit President Barack Obama at the White House. The reigning champs in every major sport pay the White House a visit each year.
One player who will not be with the Royals on Thursday: Jonny Gomes. And he's crushed. He told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports that finding out he wasn't invited to the White House is the "worst news" of his career.
"I've been sent down. I've been non-tendered, whatever," Gomes said. "But this is probably the worst news of my professional baseball career."
"Being from a military background, being patriotic ... I think that is one of the most epic rewards of winning a championship, getting that honor to go to the White House, be on stage, hang with the president," continued Gomes, who planned to join the Marines before the Rays selected him in the 18th round of the 2001 draft.
Gomes visited the White House with the Red Sox in 2014, when he wore a white suit with a stars and stripes blazer. Check it out:
Gomes has several patriotic tattoos, including the Statue of Liberty, a bald eagle, and military dog tags. Rosenthal says Gomes also supports Troops Direct, a non-profit organization that provides foods and other supplies to those in the military.
Why didn't the Royals invite Gomes to the White House? Simply put, there was no room for him. The White House limits how many people can attend, and Gomes, who only played 12 games with the Royals and was not on the postseason roster last year, didn't make the cut. That makes sense. Those who were with the club all season should be the priority.
Gomes, 35, is currently a free agent. He spent some time in Japan earlier this season before returning to the U.S.