Aug 8, 2023

President Biden Welcomes the Houston Astros to the White House Transcript

President Biden Welcomes the Houston Astros to the White House Transcript
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President Biden Welcomes the Houston Astros to the White House. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):

Distinguished guests, the President of the United States, accompanied by Houston Astros owner and chairman, Jim Crane and manager Dusty Baker.

President Joe Biden (00:44):

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please have a seat.

Audience (00:51):

We love you.

President Joe Biden (00:51):

Well, thank you. My name’s Joe Biden. I play center field. At least I used to play center field. Well, I’ll tell you what, if you gave me a choice of was standing here or on that riser, I’m not sure which I’d pick.

Welcome, guys. Welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome. And I want to welcome to the White House the 2022 World Series Champion, the Houston Astros.

From team owner Jim Crane to manager Dusty Baker, a name not known to many of you, to the players and everyone in the organization, it’s great to have you here. It really is great to have you here. It’s great to see so many of your fans, including the Second Gentleman and Representative Al Green. Randall Weber. Where’s Al? Is Al here? There you are. I’m making sure I can see you, Al. Because I know if he doesn’t see me, that cane hurts.

Representative Al Green (02:02):

We’ll be back next year, Mr. President.

President Joe Biden (02:09):

And Randall Weber. Where’s Randall?

Speaker 5 (02:13):

Right here.

President Joe Biden (02:14):

Oh, there you go, Randall. I got him, man.

Randall Weber (02:23):

We will be back next year.

President Joe Biden (02:23):

I tell you, and if you want anybody, you want Sheila Jackson Lee on your team because you don’t want to be on the opposite side of her.

Representative Lee (02:28):

[inaudible 00:02:34].

President Joe Biden (02:35):

You’re playing every minute, I tell you.

Look, who has the distinction of representing Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros, by the way. The Houston Astros: legends of Space City. The legends of Space City. Now, a hundred years from now, they’ll wonder what the hell that was: the Space City.

106 regular season wins, the best season in the American League. 21 shutouts of opposing team, the most in the entire league, including the postseason. Swept the Mariners, the Yankees in the American League playoffs. And then, although I love these guys, this next part is hard to say, then they beat the Phillies in six games to win the World Series.

Now, you all realize that means I can’t go back to Philly. Oh, I kid. Look, led by World Series MVP, where’s Jeremy? Jeremy, raise your hand so everybody sees you, Pena. First rookie position player to earn the honor, first. First, first.

Led by five All-Stars, as well as a group of pitchers who pitched the first combined no-hitter in postseason history. And you guys just weren’t satisfied winning the World Series, man. You had to break every record.

I tell you, remarkable achievements led by, and this is not hyperbole, the legendary Dusty Baker. Worst part about it is I remember rooting for him as a kid, and I was older than he was.

Dusty, it wasn’t easy. People counted you out, saying you were past your prime. Hell, I know something about that. I know something about that. Dusty is a former Marine and a man of faith who has never given up with a record to prove it. An All-Star player, three-time, three-time Manager of the Year, the first coach to lead five teams to the postseason in all of baseball history. And finally, World Series Champion as a player and a manager.

There were plenty of folks rooting for the Astros, but the whole country was rooting for Dusty Baker, I promise you that. The whole country. Look, and this team didn’t just step up on the field, it stepped up for the community.

I think I was mentioning this to the guys a few minutes earlier. You’re focused on issues that are near and dear to my heart. I mean that sincerely, like raising awareness on domestic violence. I spent a lot of my career writing the Violence Against Women Act. I think the only, my dad used to have an expression that the idea, the idea that the abuse of power, any man who raises his hand to a woman is just a freaking coward.

And your support for kids with cancer. Me and my family and many families in America, that cuts very personally. And we set up the Biden Cancer Initiative and the Cancer Moonshot. We brought researchers, nonprofits, advocates, patients, and cancer as we know it, including pediatric cancer, which is often not researched.

Then during the terrible winter of 2021, you stepped up helping those most in need. And it matters. Don’t underestimate it, guys. It’s an American thing to do. You showed up for the people of Uvalde when they needed it most. I spent a lot of time in Uvalde, met every single family. I made sure I met every single solitary family and spent time with them.

And I don’t know what they’re doing with that machine, they’re just rolling along here. But the point is, I think you athletes underestimate how much hope you give. Not a joke. It’s not hyperbole. Give you my word. Every one of those kids. And when you guys decided, the men who decided to roll up and take 300 of these kids and their families to a ball game, it gave them a little bit of hope. Well, some of you have suffered loss in your life. You understand it. It’s astounding what you do. I really mean it. And it meant a great deal. One of the reasons why I like you guys so damn much.

The community was devastated. My dad used to say, “Half of winning is showing up.” You showed up. You spent time with surviving students. You gave them hope. You played ball in the park with them. You signed jerseys with their names of the children that were lost on it. It really, it validates in ways I don’t think you really understand.

You hosted the Uvalde Strong Day. And as I said, 3,000 Uvalde residents provided buses to bring them to the game. You guys are the real deal. And the victim’s sister, Faith Mata, whose sister, Tess, was killed, threw out the ceremonial pitch. Imagine what it was like for her standing on that mound or standing near it. Imagine what it was like and what it did. It really matters. I promise you, I promise you.

And this team said to the community that day, “You’re family, you’re neighbors, we want to do whatever we can to help you get through this process. And if it’s just a smile on a Sunday for our game, that’s what we want to do.” That’s what you did. You did a whole lot more.

Yes, sports is about winning. But it’s a lot more than that. At best, it lifts people up, it brings them together, it helps them be there for each other. I was honored to host the 2022 Houston Astros here at the White House. And by the way, congratulations. I didn’t even say that part yet.

I’ve done a lot of these. You’re an impressive group of men. You really are. From management on down to ownership, you care. And this is not part of the program here, guys, but I’ll bet you you were surprised or it gave you heart to see the reaction people had to those kids when you took them out in the field. It matters. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

And folks, let me end by saying God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Thank you. Thank you.

With that, I’m going to bring up a guy totally unknown to all of you, Jim Crane, to say a few words.

Jim Crane (10:01):

Mr. President, First Lady, on behalf of my family, I got most of my crew here today-

President Joe Biden (10:06):

And James.

Jim Crane (10:08):

Yes, that’s Big James, and the entire Houston organization, thank you for having us this afternoon here. It’s a great honor. And we appreciate the hospitality. The staff has been great, very welcoming. And I’d like to thank them. And today is a special day. It’s not only for the players, these great players and coaches, work hard every day, but we have a lot of our people. We’ve got some announcers in here. I parked cars with that guy when I was 16.

President Joe Biden (10:39):

Oh, is that right?

Jim Crane (10:41):

We’re still parking cars. And so, the whole organization pitches in. I don’t think everybody realizes how hard everyone works, from the announcers, guys cleaning the stadium. All those jobs are very important. And it really helped us win 2022. It was a very, very team effort from these great players and our entire group here today. And I appreciate everybody coming up today.

We’re here representing the city of Houston. We have some politicians over there we know very well. And thank you for the great support. But we have the best fans in baseball. And we want to thank our fans. Without the fans, I tell everybody the fans pay the bills. They pay the salary. I’m just a little conduit. And we wouldn’t be here without all that support.

The other thing, we were lucky to pick off Dusty a few years ago. And Dusty has an unbelievable career. Everyone knows that. But this year, he won a World Series. He hadn’t won a World Series, believe it or not.

President Joe Biden (11:42):

Played one.

Jim Crane (11:44):

And I’m happy to turn it over to him. And I’m proud to have Dusty as our manager.

Dusty Baker (12:03):

Thank you. Thanks, Jim. Good afternoon. And we’re honored to be here today to represent the city of Houston and this organization. President Biden, First Lady, Dr. Biden and your team, we thank you for inviting us to the celebration of our championship. These guys deserve it. And we thank you for the hospitality.

These guys standing behind me are the greatest guys that I’ve been around. They’re always believing in themselves. They always believed in themselves prior to me even coming here that they had the ability to win. And they showed what perseverance and character can do for you.

I have these readings every day that I read, and that was about today was perseverance. And perseverance has been the biggest part of my life. And perseverance has been the biggest part of these guys’ life or else you can’t make it to the promised land like we did.

These guys were a group of veterans alongside some incredible young men who stepped into big shoes and made big plays for the biggest stage. We all know baseball is a long season, and they came to play every day. That’s what we talk about all the time.

They were consistent in their personalities and confidence, and they had each other with unwavering support for each other and love for each other. I think that is probably one of the biggest things that this team has compared to other teams that I’ve been in the past, is that they genuinely loved each other. And when I asked the late Bill Russell what was the keys to the Celtics, whom I didn’t like very well, he told me that they loved each other.

2022 was never about one individual. It was about a group of men coming together to accomplish something very special for this city that supported them. I love them all. You’ve got to love each and every one of them. And it’s the only a way to come together in a special feeling that is tough to describe and hard to repeat. But we plan on repeating exactly that feeling.

Houston’s a great city with great people and great fans. Hands down, they’re the best baseball fans in America, and we couldn’t have done it without their support. I said the night we won that if we won one, we’d win two. And so now I got to keep my word. I like keeping my word. And we’re in the middle of making it happen right now. Coming off a great series in New York, heading into a big series in Baltimore, probably the biggest series that Baltimore has had in a while. I’m known to be honest. No harm intended.

And thank you, Mr. President and your staff, for having us here today. It’s an honor. And I want to throw it back to Jim to present a special gift to Mr. President. Thank you.

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