From Sunlen Miller:
Chicago White Sox fan, President Obama, today honored the 2009 World Series Champions, the New York Yankees in an East Room ceremony at the White House saying that they are a team that is easy to love, and easy to hate.
“This is a team that goes down to spring training every year expecting to win it all — and more often than not, you guys get pretty close. Of course, if I had Rivera, I’d get pretty close, too,” Obama joked. “My White Sox would get close every year. That attitude, that success, has always made the Yankees easy to love — and, let’s face it, easy to hate as well.”
The president said as a White Sox fan it is “painful” at times to watch the team, yet noted the winning tradition of the team.
“For the millions of Yankees fans in New York and around the world who bleed blue, nothing beats that Yankee tradition: 27 World Series titles; 48 Hall of Famers — a couple, I expect, standing behind me right now. From Ruth to Gehrig, Mantle to DiMaggio, it’s hard to imagine baseball without the long line of legends who’ve worn the pinstripes.”
Mr. Obama said that many fans forget that being a Yankee is as much about character as it is about performance.
“Being successful in New York doesn’t come easy, and it’s not for everybody. It takes a certain kind of player to thrive in the pressure cooker of Yankee Stadium -– somebody who is poised and professional, and knows what it takes to wear the pinstripes. It takes somebody who appreciates how lucky he is, and who feels a responsibility for those who are less fortunate.”
Earlier today the Yankees visited members of the Armed Forces recovering at Walter Reed, spending time with soldiers and their families.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi presented the president with a signed Yankees jersey – with #27 on the back, a nod to the team’s overall number of titles. The president posed with the World Series trophy prompting a woman in the audience to joke that the president might hold on to it, as he might not get another chance.
“Ooohhhs” were heard not only from the president but from the entire audience.
“And you wonder why the other teams don’t root for you,” Obama quipped back as he clutched the trophy.