Leading Off

Has White House tradition gotten out of hand?

Video: San Francisco Giants honored at the White House

The San Francisco Giants returned to the White House Thursday morning to be honored by President Barack Obama for winning the 2014 World Series championship, their third title and visit with the chief executive in five years.
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The San Francisco Giants returned to the White House Thursday morning to be honored by President Barack Obama for winning the 2014 World Series championship, their third title and visit with the chief executive in five years.

The Giants have lost five games in a row, so maybe it’s good they had Thursday off. Yet they received more national attention than they have since they won their third World Series in five years.

Instead of working on their hitting, the Giants spent much of Thursday cozying up to President Barack Obama at the White House.

We’re not suggesting they should have turned down the invite; of course it’s an honor to be lauded by the president.

As Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters Tuesday: “It’s a special time and a special memory, to be at the White House. … These are the memories that you keep. We’re pretty fortunate to have this happen, and we know it.”

But has this tradition gotten out of hand? And how does the president find the time?

It’s believed Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, started the tradition in 1924, when he welcomed the Senators back to Washington after they won the World Series. But it has become so common, there are too many sports ceremonies to keep track of.

During the week of April 20, President Obama hosted the Ohio State football team (winner of the inaugural College Football Playoff) on Monday, Kevin Harvick and the Stewart-Hass Racing Team (2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion) on Tuesday and the New England Patriots (Super Bowl XLIX champions) on Thursday.

By welcoming champions to the White House, presidents not only endear themselves to sports fans, they accumulate memorabilia.

In 2011, the Giants gave Obama an autographed No. 44 jersey (he’s the 44th president), a signed bat and a custom glove. Two years ago, he received another signed ball and bat. And on Thursday, the gifts including yet another signed ball, another No. 44 Obama jersey and an autographed base.

Is there a special room in the White House to store all those goodies from the hundreds of visits by sports champs?

Tom Couzens, (916) 321-1097 @tomcouzens

Playbook

  • WHAT TO WATCH: Baseball, Giants at Philadelphia, 4:05 p.m., CSNBA. Tim Lincecum (5-3, 3.00 ERA) will try to end the Giants’ five-game losing streak.
  • TWITTER CHATTER: “Final briefing. They are pretty buttoned up in the @WhiteHouse” – @SFGiants
  • ON THIS DATE: On June 5, 1990, Jennifer Capriati, 14, became the youngest Grand Slam semifinalist by rallying from a 4-1 deficit in the final set to beat Manuela Maleeva 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 in the French Open.
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