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On deck? Star-spangled blazers

3/31/2014

BALTIMORE -- The red, white and blue blazers, apparently, are on deck.

No official word yet, but there is increasing evidence that the gift bestowed by Jonny Gomes on his Red Sox teammates in camp this spring will be worn on Tuesday to the White House, where the Sox will be honored for winning the World Series in 2013.

“Another president once said, ‘I can neither confirm nor deny it,’’’ Sox reliever Craig Breslow said when the question of the team’s attire was put to him here Monday morning. “Follow the trail."

Gomes has insisted this was not his intention when he first purchased the jackets, a nice accessory to the red, white and blue boxers that have become de rigueur in the Sox clubhouse since last season. He said he knew the owner of the company, Loudmouth.com, that makes the jackets. But while Gomes said the team had planned to present one to President Obama, the outfielder wasn’t trying to set a new standard for White House formal wear.

When it comes to presidential name-dropping, it’s hard to compete with Breslow in the Sox clubhouse. He said he already has met four presidents: The Bushes, George H.W. and George W., both spoke at Yale while Breslow was a student there, as did Bill Clinton. And the reliever met President Obama at a White House reception this winter.

The elder Bush spoke to the baseball team at Centennial Field when he visited Yale for the school’s bicentennial in 2001, Breslow said.

“That was the first thing on his agenda," Breslow said. “He spoke to us for about 15 or 20 minutes. Obviously, a pretty neat experience. He was getting up in age but still sharp."

Sox manager John Farrell was the pitching coach when the Sox visited the White House in 2008, after winning the ’07 Series. He also received a congratulatory call from the president last October.

“Anytime you have a chance to speak with the commander in chief, that’s a rare opportunity," Farrell said. “For all of us who are going tomorrow to meet him in person, to experience the White House, we know the reason we’re there. It’s a fun day, a unique day; I think it will be a good experience for all."

The Sox players, as they have on past White House visits, will also go to Walter Reed Hospital to visit with wounded veterans.

“It’s a powerful amount of time that you spend there," Farrell said. “You see the sacrifice that so many have made. You see the work, not only technology, but the human spirit can bring back. It’s moving, I’ll tell you that, given the hardships and challenges individual soldiers overcome."