The Los Angeles Dodgers Friday became the first professional sports team to visit the White House as champions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the first with President Joe Biden in office.
The team met with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the East Room, with the president suggesting that the Dodgers might be back for another championship visit after this season.
“I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle (Los Angeles Mayor Eric) Garcetti if you win twice,” Biden joked. Garcetti was in attendance at the ceremony.
“The Dodgers are a lot more than a baseball team, they really are,” Biden said. “They’re a pillar of American culture and American progress, and that’s for real. The team that brought us the voice of Vince Scully and the arms of Sandy Koufax and Fernando Valenzuela … and above all else, the heart of Jackie Robinson.”
Biden also hailed the team for finishing the season with the “highest winning percentage of any team since 1954.”
There were 50 members of the Dodgers organization joining Biden on the podium. Other members of the organization were also in attendance, a team official told City News Service.
No one who was not a part of the 2020 World Series championship team was on the visit.
Pitcher Clayton Kershaw spoke on behalf of the team.
“Last season was a special one for us, but it was also a challenging one for our country,” he said. “Our hope is that we were able to provide just a little bit of joy and comfort and relief for our fans that were going through some tough times. This season it’s been incredible to have fans back in the ballpark. We missed their energy and their passion for the game and it means so much to us that people are coming back to the ballpark and things around the country are going back to normal.”
This visit was the Dodgers’ first to the White House as World Series champions since Oct. 26, 1988, when the team met with then-President Ronald Reagan six days after completing a five-game victory over the Oakland Athletics.
The visit coincided with the team’s four-game series against the Washington Nationals.