President Obama welcomes & praises SF Giants

President Barack Obama today welcomed the San Francisco Giants to the White House to honor their 2012 World Series win.

Mayor Ed Lee and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were on hand for the event, too. No mention was made of the Giants’ current position at the bottom of the NL West division.

Read the president’s full remarks, after the jump…

THE PRESIDENT: Well, everybody please have a seat. Welcome to the White House on this beautiful afternoon. And congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on their second World Series title in three years. (Applause.) They’re making this a habit. (Laughter.)

I want to start by recognizing all the fans of the Orange and Black with us today, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is in the house. (Applause.) One of your number-one fans in Washington, Leader Nancy Pelosi is here — season ticket holder. (Applause.) All the members of Congress that we’ve got here today — we’re glad you guys are here.

We want to recognize as well Larry Baer and GM Brian Sabean for building yet another championship team. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) And of course, we’ve got somebody who keeps on looking younger every time I see him, the “Say Hey Kid” Willie Mays in the house. (Applause.) And, of course, we’ve got a big — give a big congratulations to Manager Bruce Bochy, who just last week joined greats like John McGraw and Joe Torre as one of only 21 managers to win 1,500 games. That is an incredible honor. Give Bruch a big round of applause. (Applause.) Congratulations.

Now, it wasn’t that long ago that these guys were already here celebrating their last World Series title. Some things apparently don’t change. The Giants still won behind stellar pitching and smothering defense and timely hitting. And even though they used a different closer down the stretch, this one still had a “beard to fear.” (Laughter.)

On the other hand, some things do change. In 2010, it took five games to close out the World Series. This year it only took four. (Applause.) There are some new faces standing behind me, some new nicknames. You got the “Reverend.” You’ve got “Blockbuster.” We’ve even got new haircuts. Where’s Tim? (Laughter.) There he is. See, you don’t even recognize him anymore. (Laughter.)

And of course, there were new moments to write into the history books as well. During the regular season, Matt Cain threw the franchise’s first perfect game with a record-tying 14 strikeouts. Buster Posey returned from injury — I wish I was that young — you just kind of snap back — comes back, hits .336 with 24 homeruns and earns the National League MVP. (Applause.)

In the playoffs, the Giants dropped the first two games to the Reds, forcing them to run off three straight wins to stay alive. And then against the Cardinals, they had to come back from a three to one hole to win in seven games. In all, this team faced elimination a total of six times in the playoffs. It’s no wonder that your own fans still refer to Giants baseball as torture. (Laughter.)

But in the World Series, they decided to take it a little easier on Giants fans. In Game one, Pablo Sandoval came out swinging, with a record-tying three homeruns on his way to becoming the World Series MVP. (Applause.) Three games later, brooms were out, it was time for more fireworks over North Beach and another parade down Market Street.

And with these two championships, this team has added another chapter to the storied legacy of players like Mays and McCovey and Perry. And I think it’s time to add a few more names to that list: Lincecum and Cain and Posey and Kung Fu Panda. (Laughter.)

So as the Giants prove every day, baseball can be even bigger than all-stars and Cy Young winners. The Junior Giants program uses baseball to teach integrity and leadership and teamwork to more than 20,000 children. The team recently won a national award for their support of the LGBT community. Two years ago, the Giants became the first professional sports franchise to record an “It Gets Better” video to help bullied youth. (Applause.)

I’m proud to announce that next season they’re planning to turn the centerfield bleachers at AT&T Park into what’s believed to be the first ever edible garden in a major American sports facility. With rows of kale and strawberries and eggplant, the Giants are going to help encourage local youth to eat healthy — even at the ballpark.

I should add, even Michelle would say it’s okay to have a hotdog once in a while, though. (Laughter.) I don’t want everybody to get carried away and think they have to have kale every time they go to the ballpark. (Laughter.)

So today, we are proud to honor the Giants not only for being champions on the diamond, but also being champions for the entire San Francisco community as well. They represent their city proudly, and they do a great job at it.

On that note, let’s hear it one more time for the World Champion San Francisco Giants. (Applause.)

(Gifts are presented.)

THE PRESIDENT: I got a World Series ball and bat — and you should know that I can’t read any of their signatures. (Laughter.) But it’s greatly appreciated. Thank you so much. (Applause.)

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • JAFO

    As a lifelong Giants fan, it pains me to say this. However, the parallel between the Giant’s 2013 season and BO’s past five years is unmistakable: No enough runs, not enough hits and far too many errors.

  • JAFO

    “Not enough runs…”