Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
As President Obama carried out the annual tradition of hosting the winners of the World Series at the White House to celebrate their win, the incurable White Sox-fan-in-chief could not help but take a little dig at his rival Chicago Cubs while welcoming the New York Yankees to the East Room of the executive mansion on Monday.
"It's been nine years since your last title -– which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans. I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that," the president said. "The Cubs, for example."
After the laughter died down from his guests, including the Steinbrenner family and the 2009 World Series Champion Yankees, he continued. "But 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," the president joked. "My White Sox would get close every year."
He went on, and even gave a gentle ribbing to his guests."That attitude, that success, has always made the Yankees easy to love -- and, let's face it, easy to hate as well," he said to the laughing crowd. "For a White Sox fan like me, it's painful to watch Mariano's cutter when it's against my team, or to see the Yankees wrap up the pennant while the Sox are struggling on the South Side."
With the jokes aside, the president praised the millions of dedicated Yankees fans who "bleed blue" for their team. He also lauded the Yankees' tradition of excellence.
"It's not simply the names on the roster or the size of their trophy case -– it's the people underneath the pinstripes that set this team apart."
Although Obama is a White Sox fan, two cabinet secretaries -- Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner -- were on hand to celebrate with their Yankees for their World Series victory.