President welcomes Giants to White House

President welcomes Giants to White House
July 25, 2011, 9:20 pm
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PROGRAMMING NOTE: Watch SportsNet Central at 10:30 for complete coverage of the White House visit with reporter Jaymee Sire embedded with the team. staff

The World Series champion Giants were honored at the White House Monday in an East Room ceremony with President Barack Obama.

The president said the Giants may be a little different, but one thing they know is how to win.

Obama congratulated the 2010 world champs for their 4-games-to-1 victory over Texas, calling them "characters with character."

RELATED: Giants World Series 2010 page

"As GM Brian Sabean put it, 'We've got a lot of characters'," Obama said. "One of those characters is Tim Lincecum ... where's Tim?" After turning to look at the lineup of players behind him, the President said, "I recognize the hair."

"And then there's the guy with the beard," Obama added. "Where is he?"

When he found closer Brian Wilson, Obama said of the famed facial hair and the slogan that goes with it: "I do fear it."

Setting kidding aside, Obama praised Wilson for the serious work the closer does between the lines.

"Now underneath Brian's beard, and the spandex tuxedo, and the sea captain costume, and the cleats with his face on them is also one of the most dominant closers in baseball," Obama said.

Manager Bruce Bochy presented him with an autographed jersey, pitcher Matt Cain gave the president a bat signed by the entire team, and team owner Bill Neukom, along with general manager Brian Sabean, presented Obama with a baseball glove.

Giants legend Willie Mays was among the honorees, and the president singled him out, which produced a standing ovation.

"Two years ago, I invited Willie (Mays) to ride with me on Air Force One on the way to the All-Star Game in St. Louis," Obama said. "It was an extraordinary trip. Very rarely when I am on Air Force One, am I the second-most important ..."

The dignitaries who attended included:
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi
- San Francisco mayor Ed Lee
- Former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown
- Former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom
- CIA director Leon Panetta

As the event concluded and the Giants posed for pictures with the 44th president (he was presented with a "44" jersey), a chant of "Let's go Giants" broke out in the room.