President Obama, welcoming the world-champion San Francisco Giants to the White House Monday, noted Brian Wilson’s epic beard, and said, “I do fear it.”
The remark came as the president honored the team of “misfits and castoffs” that he deemed baseball’s “characters with character.”
Obama was joined by Willie Mays, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, among other Bay Area politicians, in praising the Giants for their first World Series win in 56 years.
“So even though this team is a little different, even though these players haven’t always followed the traditional rules, one thing they know is how to win,” the president said.
With orange and black scattered throughout the East Room of the White House, Obama singled out fan-favorite pitchers Tim Lincecum and Wilson for their roles in the 4-1 series victory over the Texas Rangers last year.
“Nobody thought somebody that skinny, with that violent a delivery could survive without just flying apart,” the president said of Lincecum. “But now, with two Cy Youngs under his belt, everybody understands why he’s called ‘The Freak.’”
To the disappointment of some, Wilson did not don his trademark spandex “tuxedo,” opting instead for a pinstripe suit.
“You should know that Michelle [Obama] was very relieved that the press was going to be talking about what somebody else wears here in the White House,” Obama joked.
The Giants were originally scheduled to visit the White House in April but the trip was delayed as Obama traveled to Alabama to meet with tornado victims. Less than 48 hours later, the president announced the death of Osama bin Laden.
Manager Bruce Bochy and the team gave Obama a custom-numbered “44” jersey, a trademark of such presidential visits.
Even in his own home, though, Obama arguably received the second loudest reception of the day behind the Say Hey Kid.
“Very rarely when I’m on Air Force One am I the second most important guy on there,” he said, remembering a trip with Mays to a previous All Star game. “Everybody was just passing me by, ‘Can I get you something, Mr. Mays.’”
The Giants will begin a three-game series in Philadelphia on Tuesday in a rematch of last year’s National League Championship Series.