Braves visit White House: 'It's an incredible honor'

September 26th, 2022

WASHINGTON -- Nearly a year after winning the World Series, the Braves are still reaping the benefits. The defending champs were wowed while serving as President Joe Biden’s guests at the White House Monday afternoon.

“It’s surreal,” Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos said. “You’re sitting up there on stage and I just get the chills sitting here talking about it. It’s an incredible honor.”

Partaking in the long tradition of being honored by the President after winning a national championship, the Braves arrived at the White House around 10 a.m. on Monday and received a private tour.

About 90 minutes later, they stood in the East Room, where they gave the President a personalized Braves jersey that had Biden and the No. 46 on the back.

“Not many people get a chance to do this,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I was so impressed by everybody involved, all the staffers, the military and all of that. It’s amazing how many of them are Braves fans.”

One White House staff member approached Snitker and said she had been the team mascot when he had managed High-A Myrtle Beach at some point between 1999-2001.

As for President Biden, he is a Philadelphia sports fan and his wife, Jill, is a very avid Phillies fan. So, he pointed out The First Lady certainly wasn’t happy when the Braves claimed an 11-inning win over the Phillies on Sunday night. This was just one of the quips that drew laughter.

“The Braves will be forever remembered for the unstoppable, joyful run that this team made last year,” President Biden said. “I would say it was an improbable run at the time. It was a rough start. They went into the All-Star break without one day having a winning record. They were given a 0.4 percent chance of winning on CNN.”

As those gathered laughed, Biden recounted how the Braves rebuilt their outfield, finished strong and became what he termed the “upset kings of October.”

“None of it came easy with people counting you out,” President Biden said. “Heck, I know something about being counted out. And I know in Georgia, you show up when it counts.”

More laughter added to the experience enjoyed by the executives, politicians, players and staff members who filled the room. Braves chairman Terry McGuirk entered the room with President Biden as “Hail to the Chief” played. Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller and Braves Development Company president and CEO Mike Plant were the team’s other top executives present.

Both President Biden and McGuirk expressed appreciation to former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for helping to ensure this event occurred. Bottoms currently serves as a White House advisor.

“It’s special with everything we went through, I just wish we could have done it where we could have got all the guys here,” Snitker said.

Adam Duvall, who suffered a season-ending wrist injury on July 23, and Ozzie Albies, out with a fractured finger, were among the currently injured players who were present. But the Braves would have liked to have also included Freddie Freeman, Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler and others who joined other clubs after playing significant roles during last year’s postseason.

Still, the honor of touring the White House brought back great memories for Kyle Wright, whose relief appearance in Game 4 stood as one of the World Series’ greatest contributions. His ability to allow just one run over 4 2/3 innings, after entering with the bases loaded and one out in the first inning, propelled the Braves to a comeback win. It also vaulted Wright to this year’s great 20-win season.

“It’s pretty cool trying to soak everything in,” Wright said. “Hopefully, this isn’t the only time we do this, but it’s definitely pretty special to be a part of this.”