The world champion Chicago Cubs, along with their trophy, made a second visit to the White House today, after already celebrating their MLB title with President Obama in January.
It is traditional that college and professional championship teams meet with whoever the president is at the time (usually in the following year), but a double header, as it were, is unusual. With Chicago being Obama’s political hometown, he evidently wanted to expedite bringing the team to the White House for the photo op before his term ended.
“This is a great team, and they were actually here, but they wanted to be here with Trump,” President Trump joked with the Chicago Cubs players such as third-base star Kris Bryant, the 2016 MVP, and management during the ceremony in the Roosevelt Room before giving them a tour of the Oval Office.
See video embedded below.
Chicago won it all last year, culminating in a dramatic seven-game series in the October Classic with the Cleveland Indians for their first title since 1908.
The Cubs are in D.C. for a four-game series with the Washington Nationals, who they may encounter in the playoffs. Going into tonight’s action, the Cubs are in second place in the National League Central behind the Milwaukee Brewers with a record of 39-38. First baseman Anthony Rizzo good-naturedly invited Trump to attend tonight’s game since it’s just up the street.
“Your team’s doing okay, but you’re going to do great starting now, right?” Trump quipped as he congratulated the team. The players cracked up when Trump asked which one of them was the team’s best hitter.
Trump has ties to the Ricketts family and noted that he was hoping that Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts would join the administration, but that the government paperwork proved too onerous. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts was also present.
Manager Joe Maddon stressed that the visit was voluntary for the players, and not all of them showed up. Maddon may have been playing a political game of his own by adding that “he was going to the White House out of respect for the Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs and donated to Trump’s campaign,” the Daily Mail explained.
The president also needled his friend Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who happened to be visiting the White House, about whether he was in need of a good baseball player to play basketball and also teased him about how he was getting along with LeBron James. This is most likely a sore subject with Gilbert given all the speculation about LBJ leaving for the Lakers next year.
“The team presented Trump with a Cubs jersey numbered ’45’ and a tile from the Wrigley Field scoreboard numbered ’45,’ the New York Post reported.
Trump made some news during the Cubs visit by mentioning to reporters that the negotiations for the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill are moving along well.
The NBA champion Golden State Warriors won’t decide about visiting the Trump White House until an invitation is formally extended. The Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL have already announced that they will get the White House next season presumably during a road trip game with the Washington Capitals.
Parenthetically, a rumor gained traction on Twitter that Cubs center fielder Albert Almora was flipping the bird in the Oval Office, but according to SB Nation, “When you zoom in, it sure looks like Albert Almora’s index finger is also out.”
Watch President Trump meet with the Chicago Cubs as the White House today.
[Featured Image by Susan Walsh/AP Images]