Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–July 21, 2016 – 12:06 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! Everybody, have a seat. Have a seat. Welcome to the White House, everybody. Let’s give it up for the World Series Champions, the Kansas City Royals! (Applause.) I know many of you had been waiting a long time to hear this, so I’ll say it again — the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals! (Applause.)
As you can tell, we’ve got quite a few Royals fans in the house, including some members of Congress. I see some members of my Cabinet, as well as former Cabinet members. We’re also proud to be joined by a true American patriot, a World War II veteran, and one of the finest public servants America has ever known, Senator Bob Dole. (Applause.)
I also want to recognize the Kansas City mayors from both sides of the border — Sly James. (Applause.) There he is. And Mark Holland. (Applause.) More importantly, Mark’s son, Luke. (Applause.) Shortstop on — what’s the name of your team?
LUKE HOLLAND: The Braves.
THE PRESIDENT: The Braves? Not the Atlanta Braves. (Laughter.) Just want to be clear. But he’s a shortstop. Skip, you may want to check out what he’s got.
We’re proud to have Royals owner David Glass, and team president Dan Glass here. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) We’ve got General Manager Dayton Moore here. (Applause.) Two of the greatest Royals of all time, George Brett — (applause) — and Frank White. (Applause.) And the winningest manager in Royals history — give it up for Ned Yost! (Applause.)
Now, I’m not sure if anybody is aware of this, but my Press Secretary happens to be a Royals fan. (Laughter.) Where’s Josh? There he is right in the front row. (Laughter.) If you asked Josh to choose the best day of his life, I’m pretty sure he’d say his wedding day and the birth of his son. But this is close. (Laughter.) It’s really close. I notice he has his son here, training him — even though he’s more interested right now in sucking his thumb — (laughter) — to be a proper Royals fan.
And let’s face it, it’s been a long road for Royals fans. There were some dark years, some tough decades. But that started to change when Dayton came to town in 2006. He coupled some of baseball’s sharpest analytics minds with Ned’s managerial style, which has produced a lot of wins, not to mention his own Twitter hashtag — #Yosted. (Laughter.) All of which has combined to create one of the grittiest, most complete teams we’ve seen in a long time.
You’ve got an offense led by homegrown guys like Alex “Gordo” Gordon — (applause) — and Mike “Moose” Moustakas. (Applause.) Eric “Hoz” Hosmer. (Applause.) World [Series] MVP Salvador “Salvy” Perez. (Applause.) These guys are all great players. Can I say, though, the nicknames aren’t that creative. (Laughter.) It’s like, Barack “Barack” Obama. (Laughter.) You know? I mean, listen to this — Hoz, Moose, Gordo. We’re going to have to work on these. (Laughter.)
Also lights-out bullpen with relievers like Wade Davis — (applause) — and Kelvin Herrera. (Applause.) You got a speedy, athletic defense led by Alcides Escobar — (applause) — and Lorenzo Cain, who couldn’t make it today.
AUDIENCE: Aww —
THE PRESIDENT: Aww.
At the plate, you’ve got guys who hardly ever strike out. They’ve been called “basically the best contact team ever.” So fast, once around base, they’re able to squeeze out extra runs, because as — I love this quote — as Jarrod Dyson puts it, “that’s what speed do.” (Applause.) That’s what speed do. That was a good quote. (Laughter.) That’s what speed do.
And then somehow they find the time still to sneak Fetty Wap references into their press conferences. (Laughter.) Josh, you haven’t done that, have you?
MR. EARNEST: No, I have not.
THE PRESIDENT: Good, okay. (Laughter.)
So you can see why Royals fans love this team so much. And I mean love this team. 800,000 at a parade. (Applause.) Last year, fans swamped the All-Star balloting process to the point that it looked like the entire starting lineup was going to be Royals. And as a Chicago guy, I appreciate that. Vote early, vote often. (Laughter.) So that was good.
So, together, you guys have been on quite a ride. For two seasons, every playoff game seems like it’s been a white-knuckle game. Wild comeback against the A’s two years ago. The rally in Game 7 against the Giants that came up 90 feet short. Last year, coming back from the Astros. Down three against the Blue Jays. Down in each of their World Series wins against the Mets. In all, they have had eight comeback wins in the playoffs — which is a Major League record. (Applause.)
And that includes Game 5 of the World Series — a 9th inning comeback capped by Hoz’s gutsy dash home on an infield grounder. (Applause.) And then in the 12th, in his first at-bat of last year’s postseason, Christian Colón clinched the series with a pinch-hit, go-ahead single that opened up the floodgates.
Now, I think Christian’s play — somebody who hadn’t been used a lot, then suddenly coming up big when the moment arrived for him — that’s exactly the “keep the line moving” mentality that’s defined this team. Guys aren’t in it for themselves, they’re in it for each other, both on and off the diamond.
This spring, the Royals broke ground on their Urban Youth Academy in Kansas City — (applause) — a place for young people to not only steer clear of drugs and gangs but to also learn skills that can lead to a better future. And that means not just playing baseball, but learning about advanced stats, and broadcasting, and sports writing, and having access to tutoring and internships, college prep, financial literacy courses. This is in keeping with the kind of efforts that we’ve been promoting with My Brother’s Keeper. And I just to want recognize Royals ownership as well as players — Gordo, Hoz, Salvy, Moose, Chris Young — who donated millions of dollars toward supporting Kansas City’s young people. They deserve a big round of applause for that. (Applause.)
And what’s great is the Academy is built right next to the Negro League Museum — so you can see the link between Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, to Frank White and to George Brett, to Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon, and the next generation of Kansas City baseball stars. And you see that continuity and understand how central this game is to America.
So I want to thank this group for not only writing the current chapter, but hopefully writing the next chapter of our national pastime, the great game of baseball.
Give it up one last time for the world champs, Kansas City Royals! (Applause.)
12:18 P.M. EDT
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