3:44 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Well, there’s nothing like the White House. And a little rain is okay. We might wipe out a suit, but that’s all right, too. It’s raining a little bit, fellas. Nobody told me about that. You don’t need umbrellas, I know that.
Well, good afternoon. It’s my pleasure to welcome to the White House the 2018 World Series Champion, the Boston Red Sox. A very special group of people. (Applause.) A very special team. Thank you.
With us this afternoon are some of your biggest fans in my administration and on Capitol Hill, including Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Where’s Andrew? Andrew? A lot of deputy secretaries. A very great senator, Senator Tom Cotton. Tom. Ah, look at that beautiful boy is a big fan — right, Tom? Tom was a good player.
We’re also delighted to be joined by the senior leadership of Fenway Sports Group and the Boston Red Sox, John Henry. A great, great businessman. John, thank you very much. (Applause.) Great businessman.
Tom Werner, a man who has done a fantastic job in life. Where the hell is he? Tom. (Laughter and applause.) Mike Gordon, Sam Kennedy, and David Dombrowski. Thanks, fellas. Fantastic. (Applause.) Fantastic job. Great. To all the coaches and players of the Red Sox: Congratulations on your incredible victory.
The team has just come from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where they visited our wounded heroes and wounded warriors. (Applause.) And they believe very strongly in that.
I want to thank the entire Red Sox organization for your longstanding support for those American service members who have suffered the wounds of war to keep our country safe and strong and free. And we’ve never had a stronger military, right now. This is the strongest it’s been — $716 billion we spent last year, John. That’s a lot of money, even for you, right? Would you say? (Laughter.) That’s a lot of money.
Over the course of the 2018 season, the Red Sox were — frankly, they were unstoppable. I watched. You outscored your opponents by 229 runs and won 108 games in the regular season — the most in Red Sox history. (Applause.) You’ve got a lot of fans over here. You’ve got a lot of fans, huh? That’s a lot of fans they have.
In the playoffs, you bested your archrival, the Yankees. (Applause.) I think I’ll be a neutral on this one, huh? (Laughter.) But you did. You beat them, and beat the defending champions, the Astros — another great team — taking home the American League pennant and clinching a spot in the World Series.
After taking a two-game lead at historic Fenway Park to start the Series, you headed to Los Angeles for Game 3. I was at Fenway Park; I threw out the first pitch a long time ago. And George Steinbrenner was not happy about it. (Laughter.) That cooled my relationship with him for about two days. But he forgot about it. That was good.
But you headed to Los Angeles for Game 3. For 7 hours and 20 minutes, you faced the Dodgers in one of the most exciting games in postseason history.
It was in the 12th inning that relief pitcher Nathan Eovaldi — where’s Nathan? (Applause.) Where is Nathan? That was — that was a good job he did. Did you ever see such good-looking people behind me, too? (Laughter.) Not the owners; forget the owners. (Laughter.)
He stepped up to the mound. Over the final seven innings, Nathan threw 97 pitches, allowed only 3 hits, and struck out 5 batters. Nathan, that’s a great performance. We watched it. It was a dominant performance. Congratulations. (Applause.)
MR. EOVALDI: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Though you ultimately lost Game 3 by a single run, Eovaldi’s tremendous effort inspired the whole team. You knew what a World Series victory was, you knew it was in reach, and you didn’t want to do anything to blow it. And that’s what happened.
But then in Game 4, after the Dodgers scored four unanswered runs, things were looking very grim. In the dugout, your starting pitcher, Chris Sale — who, by the way, last night, struck out 14 batters. (Applause.) That’s pretty good, right? No, I said, “How’s Chris doing?” “Well, he struck out 14 last night.” I said, “Fourteen?” I never heard about 14. I said, “Was that your best?” He said “No.” Fifteen is your best, right? (Laughter.) That’s called a power pitcher, by the way.
In the dugout, your starting pitcher, Chris, decided to give the team a little pep talk. Are you an emotional guy? Pretty much, huh? Because I heard it was a hell of a pep talk. Give us a little pep talk every once and a while. (Laughter.)
With great passion, Chris shouted, pointed to the field, and rallied the Red Sox. And, Chris, I know what you said. I heard little things about your — what you said. And we have children here, so I’m not going to talk about it. (Laughter.) But it worked. It really worked.
World Series MVP Steve Pearce tied it up. (Applause.) He tied it up and — with a home run. You’re doing well this year? Pretty well this year, right? Huh? (Laughter.) He’s doing well this year. When it counts, he really does well. Those are the ones we really like, huh? Followed by three RBIs in the ninth, the Sox won — 9 to 6 — and never looked back.
Chris Sale then returned to the mound for the final game. With two outs and a one-and-two count in the bottom of the ninth, against a great hitter, Sale stared down the batter, wound up, and delivered an amazing slider. Was that a slider? (Laughter.) You gave up the fastball? And the batter went down swinging and the Red Sox won the World Series. (Applause.) Right? It’s pretty good, huh? It’s pretty good.
In 2004, the Red Sox achieved their first World Series victory in 86 years. You quickly won two more in 2007, 2013. With your victory over the Dodgers, you now have won more World Series than any other team in this century. That’s pretty good, huh? (Applause.) Must be the ownership, too. I don’t know. I know these owners are great.
In the same period, Boston teams have won six Super Bowls, as well as an NBA and an NHL championship. And this has to be a great time for Boston’s fans. If you think of it, what Boston has done in a short period of time is pretty amazing — in a lot of ways, but in sports, certainly. Congratulations. That’s great.
Each Red Sox player is a shining example of excellence, living out an American sporting tradition that goes back many generations. From the open fields of our rich farmlands to the playgrounds and the vacant lots of our great cities, kids everywhere learn to catch fly balls, swing for the fences, and race to home plate. Baseball is truly America’s pastime.
I love it. I don’t know — I guess everyone out there loves it. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t. But I love it. It’s a special — it’s a special game, a special sport. I played on a slightly different level. It’s called “on high school.” A little different level, but every spring I loved it. The smell in the air, right? Does that make sense? The smell in the air, right? It’s an amazing feeling.
Through every pitch, inning, game, and series, the 2018 Red Sox never gave up and never backed down. You always played like champions. This is a great champion right here, too. This is some champion. I want to congratulate you all on your spectacular victory.
And I just want to have Chris Sale and J.D. Martinez — two outstanding players and athletes and people — come up and say a few words. And then, after that, I’m going to take — unless the team doesn’t want to do it — you know, they never get to see Lincoln Bedroom. It’s like, sort of, you’re not supposed to be showing it. So if the press, the media, doesn’t report me for this, I’m going to take them up and show them the Lincoln Bedroom. They wanted to see the Lincoln Bedroom. So I’m going to give the tour myself. Okay? (Laughter.)
But, J.D., if you and Chris would come up and say a few words. Thank you. Thank you very much. Great job. (Applause.)
Thank you, Chris. Please.
MR. SALE: Well, Mr. President, on behalf of the Boston Red Sox organization, we’d like to thank you for having us here to celebrate our 2018 World Series Championship team. We’d like to thank our — obviously, our spouses, our family members, and friends, and our fans for coming here. This is a very high honor. It’s something that we appreciate very highly. And thank you again.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Congratulations. (Applause.)
MR. MARTINEZ: I just want to say thank you, Mr. President, for this once in a lifetime opportunity to be honored today here at the White House. And I know celebrating a Red Sox victory is tough for you, given that you’re a Yankee fan and all. (Laughter.)
But we really want to say thank you for your hospitality today. And we brought you a gift: this Red Sox jersey.
THE PRESIDENT: Wow.
MR. MARTINEZ: For you.
THE PRESIDENT: Beautiful. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
MR. MARTINEZ: Thank you.
MR. HENRY: Well, once again, I want to congratulate this group of men who — and women — who put together the best Red Sox team in history last year. And I — (applause) — thank you.
But, of course, we — we would not have been successful over the years in winning these titles without the fans of the Red Sox who are global. We often hear and see service men who are serving across the world who are tuning in to Red Sox games. And it’s a truly remarkable phenomenon around the world and throughout the United States that — how loyal and how committed Red Sox fans are. And they’re the reason that we have the resources to be successful.
And thank you, Mr. President, for this honor today. It really is an honor. And thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, John. Thank you, fellas. (Applause.)
So, again, I want to thank everybody for being here. A very, very special group. And I want to thank the families of the players — because without the families, it just wouldn’t work. You know that. They wouldn’t be up here. It would never work.
Thank you all for being here. It’s a tremendous honor to have you in the White House. And we’re going to look at the Lincoln Bedroom. (Laughter.) Thank you. Thank you everybody. (Applause.)
3:56 P.M. EDT