Members of the St. Louis Cardinals were honored at the White House Tuesday for the team's World Series championship last year.
President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Chicago White Sox and Cubs fans respectively, both heaped praise on the Cardinals for their late-season comeback and their ability to beat the odds in the playoffs, defeating the Texas Rangers in the World Series.
"Through skills and guts and -- I think the team would agree -- just a little bit of luck, just a touch, this team made the playoffs. And even though they trailed in each of the series that followed, they somehow had the spirit and the determination and the resolve to survive," President Obama said.
The President also thanked the Cardinals for visiting patients and their families at Walter Reed Military Medical Center on Tuesday.
"That’s what this organization’s all about. It represents baseball at its best and I wish them all the best this season," President Obama said.
The team presented President and Mrs. Obama with World Series bats and Cardinal jerseys with the number 44 on the backs. (Obama is the 44th president of the United States.)
Two important members of last year’s team were missing Tuesday: retired manager Tony La Russa, who had a prior engagement and former first baseman Albert Pujols – now with the Los Angeles Angels -- who declined the invitation.