Giants relive title at Capitol

WASHINGTON — One two-time winner celebrated another on Monday at the White House.

President Barack Obama welcomed the World Series champion San Francisco Giants into his home for the second time in three years, with the players getting a tour before being honored on the South Lawn.

"They're making this a habit," the president said.

The Giants came to the White House with a decidedly different vibe this time around. They were 59-43 and four games ahead in the National League West when they visited in 2011, but they entered the famous gates Monday in last place, 10 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers.

The slide has the Giants considering trading away marquee pieces before Wednesday's deadline, but for a few minutes Monday, the recent struggles and the looming uncertainty were put on hold. All of the attention was on a man who earned a second term nine days after the Giants earned a second title.

"It's a tremendous honor," catcher Buster Posey said. "I'm very humbled that the president could take a little bit of time out of his busy schedule to invite us here and spend some time with us. We're out here in a beautiful place on a beautiful day and getting to celebrate a great accomplishment."

The Giants were honored in the East Room in 2011, but under clear skies Monday, they paraded down the South Portico of the White House and onto a waiting platform. Hall of Famer Willie Mays was introduced individually, followed by manager Bruce Bochy, team president and CEO Larry Baer and President Obama.

The president made special mention of Mays during his speech, saying "he keeps on looking younger every time I see him." As the Giants toured the White House, with many players tweeting out photos from historic rooms, the president and Mays spent some time together.

"Willie and the president go back a ways," Bochy said. "They had a few things to talk about."

Mays was front and center as President Obama praised the work the Giants do in the community and pointed out the similarities in their postseason runs, citing the pitching, defense and timely hitting that carried the Giants to titles in 2010 and 2012.

The president did, however, notice one significant change this time around.

"Where's Tim?" President Obama said, looking around for right-hander Tim Lincecum, who cut his hair after the title. "There he is. See, you don't even recognize him anymore."

Standing in front of the country's most recognizable house, the Giants presented President Obama with a signed World Series ball and bat.

"You should know that I can't read any of their signatures," President Obama said, drawing laughter. "But it's greatly appreciated."

The visit was a welcome reprieve for a group that gladly traded jerseys for suits on a hot day in the nation's capital. For a moment, the Giants were taken back to their magical 2012 run and allowed to push aside a stretch of 22 losses in 30 games. When Bochy mentioned before the ceremony that the Giants were struggling, the president dispensed a brief motivational message.

"He said, 'You guys are a second-half team. You did it in 2010 and you did it in 2012,'" Baer said. "We liked the enthusiasm."

The message wasn't lost on Posey, who was hopeful that the White House visit would provide a spark for a reeling group that begins a six-game trip today in Philadelphia.

"It's good to remember that we're a good ballclub," Posey said. "Sometimes when you're struggling, it's easy to get down on yourself. Hopefully a trip like this will remind everybody that we're all good players."

As Posey spoke to reporters just outside a White House door, general manager Brian Sabean stood a few feet away, proudly wearing an orange tie as he took in the scene. In his pocket, Sabean carried two phones, a reminder that the ceremony was about to give way to the realities of Wednesday's trade deadline.

It's all but guaranteed that the Giants will not return to the White House next summer, but it might not be long before they see President Obama again. He told Baer that he intends to make a trip to AT&T Park at some point.

"He knows he has a standing invitation," Baer said.

If the president is unable to make it during his second term, he promised to come as the First Fan. Posey, who missed the 2011 visit because of a devastating leg injury, doesn't plan on waiting that long before crossing paths with the president again.

"This is hopefully not a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me," he said, smiling.

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