Obama praises World Champs at White House
Here is President Obama's speech to the team in its entirety:
Welcome to the White House and congratulations to the World Championship Philadelphia Phillies!
We originally planned to do this last month but we postponed it after the loss of legendary voice so familiar to any sports fan, Hall of Fame announcer, the great Harry Kalas.
Harry died in the ballpark, preparing to call another game for his beloved Phillies and I know a season without the warm comfort of his voice is difficult, but I also know Harry is here with us in spirit today and that he’s proud of all of you.
He waited 28 years to call another World Series Championship run, and what an unbelievable run it was, full of come-from-behind wins from an underdog team that loved to prove progosticators wrong. We share something in common there, because nobody thought I was going to win either.
This is a team that never gave up. You weren’t supposed to win your division, you weren’t supposed to win postseason series against the Dodgers and the Rays. And even thought the stretch between the top and bottom of the sixth inning of Game 5 took two full days of rain, you came out in front of the toughest fans in sports to win Philadelphia’s first major championship since 1983
This was truly a victory for young folks and the young at heart, who waited nearly three decades, and a new generation of fans had been waiting their entire lives.
As I mentioned to the team (earlier), it was not just a victory for the people of Philadelphia, but for long-time fans like Joe Biden and my campaign manager David Plouffe. I’m not sure if he cared more about my victory or for the Phillies victory, but it was a close call. As well as folks from the entire Delaware Valley
This is a team made up of guys who don’t quite. Cole Hamels, an unbelievable playoff ace. Chase Utley, a throwback who plays hurt, who plays hard, who never complains. Brad Lidge who came to the Philly organization looking for a fresh start, who went a perfect 48-for-48 in save opportunities all season long and who wiped away 28 years of near-misses and heartbreak with that final strikeout.
Guys like our manager, Charlie Manuel, who lost his mother during the playoffs. And I know how tough that is. I lost my grandmother in the middle of my election. Charlie, I admired your perseverance during those trying times. I know how hard that must have been on you.
Also, guys like Shane Victorino. Shane we don’t get that many baseball players from Hawaii…. He was pointing out the Hawaiian flag on the carpet in there, saying, “Shaka,” local boy. That means there are a lot of folks looking out for you. And then Jimmy Rollins, who I have to say made some telephone calls on behalf of our campaign before the election and I couldn’t be more grateful to him for that.
I remember giving a campaign speech in Chester, just outside of Philadelphia one week before the election and it was the day after rain had suspended the series game. And it was still raining. And I told my staff, if they can suspend a World Series game in the middle of the day, the least they could do is to find an indoor location for my speech. That was the coldest I may have ever been. I mean, it was cold. But true to form, thousands of Philadelphians showed up to brave the rain and my speech, just like they had showed up to watch their beloved Phillies play. So like this team, I tried to give them my best.
I also know how it felt for the Phillies to get this weight off their back because my beloved White Sox finally did it three years ago after 90 years of waiting. So, Cubs fans out there, take heart. Anything is possible.
I also want to point out the example each and one of these guys, their wives and everyone in the organization set with their time and efforts off the field. Chase works on behalf of pediatric hospitals; Brad supports are wounded warriors; Cole helps those suffering HIV AIDS in Africa; Ryan Howard is a national face for the Boys and Girls Clubs and participates in the Make-A-Wish foundation and takes an active role in mentoring inner-city students… and on and on.
Just as the number of African American kids taking up baseball has declined, the impact of having role models like Ryan and Jimmy to look up just can’t be measured.
Jimmy likes to say nothing comes easy in Philly, and I think that’s why so many Americans found themselves rooting for this extraordinary team. As Americans, we know a little something about being underdogs, we know a little bit something about coming together when times are tough. And like this team we remember a simple truth which is we rise and fall together, no one individual is bigger than the team.
So, to the Phillies, congratulations for not only a great season but for doing it the right way.
And to their manager [shakes Manuel’s hand], great job.