World Series champs visit White House

World Series champs visit White House

WASHINGTON -- David Ortiz once again drew a big cheer from Red Sox Nation on Wednesday. He just did it in a different place.

Big Papi delighted a large group of Red Sox fans by holding up the World Series championship trophy while standing on the Truman Portico at the White House. President George W. Bush had just honored him and his teammates for last fall's World Series victory -- their second in four seasons -- and Ortiz wanted to show the fans the beloved trophy one more time.

Bush, a former owner of the Texas Rangers, appeared with Vice President Dick Cheney and the Red Sox on the South Lawn of the White House on a cold and windy afternoon to congratulate Boston. Oritz showed off the hardware to the large group of fans who showed up -- many of whom were wearing all different kinds of Red Sox hats, shirts, jerseys, ties and more.

"This was a club that was wise enough to maintain a core of players that knew how to win," Bush said. "[Jason] Varitek, [Doug] Mirabelli, Ortiz, [Manny] Ramirez, [Curt] Schilling, [Kevin] Youkilis, [Mike] Timlin and [Tim] Wakefield were all members of the 2004 championship team, and they provided the nucleus to bring some new players and some young players along."

Manager Terry Francona, players, coaches and staff were accompanied by principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, president/CEO Larry Lucchino and members of the Red Sox's ownership group and front office.

Bush went up and down throughout the Red Sox roster, talking about the things that each player did to help win, but emphasizing several times the strength of the franchise is both on and off the field.

"I'm real proud for the Red Sox baseball club, its players, the players' families and all those associated with this unbelievably successful franchise," Bush said. "You know ... Red Sox Nation extends beyond the South Lawn, extends beyond New England -- it obviously goes to the Caribbean and even the Far East."

"It's another exclamation point on some real special things we were able to do," said World Series MVP Mike Lowell. "I think [President Bush] was completely thorough and funny. I think it helped that he's a former owner."

Varitek -- who presented President Bush with a Red Sox jersey reading "Bush 07" on the back -- said afterwards how much he enjoyed getting a chance to do this once more.

"This was a little more fun than [last time]," Boston's captain said. "It's an honor to be recognized. It's just an honor."

There even was a Manny moment, even though the slugger didn't make the trip: "Manny Ramirez isn't here, I guess his grandmother died again," Bush joked.

The fans responded by going, "Oooooooh." But Bush laughed and said, "Just kidding."

The nine-minute ceremony had some other light moments, like when Bush joked about pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jonathan Papelbon.

"I'd like welcome Dice-K to the White House South Lawn," Bush said of Matsuzaka. "His press corps is bigger than mine."

Bush then paused.

"And we both have trouble answering questions in English."

As for Papelbon, the free-spirited closer who's shown a tendency to do postgame celebratory infield dances in tight shorts, Bush gave him a compliment.

"And how about Jonanthan Papelbon?" Bush asked. "The guy pitches almost as well as he dances. And I appreciate the dress code. Thanks for wearing pants."

With World Series trophy in tow, the Red Sox then left the White House for a trip to nearby Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit wounded soldiers, something that was very emotional for many of the players who went in 2005.

Varitek said going there touched many of the players back then, and he expected the same thing to happen once again.

"It's a very humbling experience," he said.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.