Cubs to visit White House Monday

Cubs to visit White House Monday

CHICAGO -- Manager Joe Maddon said the Cubs winning their first World Series in 108 years has been a bit surreal, and the team will add another chapter to the wild and historic 2016 season by visiting President Obama at the White House on Monday.

Obama extended the invite after the Cubs beat the Indians in seven games, knowing the scheduling would be tight. The team will go to Washington after the Cubs Convention, which opens Friday.

"It's an honor," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said Wednesday night at a charity event that kicked off the team's winter caravan. "It's going to be a great day for all the players, for all the coaches, for everyone who can make it. It's a real honor. How many times in your life do you get that invite? Hopefully, it's an annual thing, the White House visit, but we'll really appreciate this one."

On Tuesday night, Maddon and his wife, Jaye, watched Obama's farewell address, which was held in Chicago.

"He is spectacular when he gets in front of a microphone -- he's incredible. And his message, of course, is always pertinent and wonderful," Maddon said of Obama.

Both Maddon and Ricketts expect a little ribbing from Obama, who is a White Sox fan.

"He's a good sport," said Maddon, who met Obama at the All-Star Game in 2009 in St. Louis. "We're all looking forward to it."

It's just one more event in what's been a quick and busy offseason.

On Wednesday, Maddon helped serve spaghetti dinners with homemade meatballs to about 250 people at the Salvation Army Freedom Center in Chicago, part of his Thanksmas holiday, which he started in Tampa.

"The point is to shine a spotlight on the fact that there's a lot of folks who need help," Maddon said.

Maddon has been reminded of how much the Cubs' first championship since 1908 means wherever he goes. A father and son from Alabama stopped by his restaurant in Tampa recently to talk about what it meant, and they were crying.

"It's sincere," Maddon said of the fans' emotions. "Those kind of moments really drive it home for me mentally. Honestly, from my perspective, I've got two years with the Cubs, and we've been in the [National League Championship Series] and the World Series, so as far as I'm concerned it's a really good place and a really successful place."

Still, Maddon admitted that winning it all was an overwhelming accomplishment.

"We've all dreamt about it," he said. "I did for a couple years. Cubs fans have been doing it for 108 years. I did go see my dad's grave. I went to the gravesite and stood there with Jaye and had my moment there. I get it. Even pumping gas in the RV at a truck stop, you'll get people recognizing and they'll come up with different stories."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.