Biden praises the Braves for their unlikely championship

President Joe Biden noted Monday that the Atlanta Braves “will always be remembered as the surprising champions of October” for their unlikely march to the 2021 World Series championship as he hosted the baseball team at the White House to celebrate the title.

Biden referred to that World Series as “an unstoppable, radiant campaign.”

The Braves were finally able to deliver on the champions’ visit to the White House with barely a week left in the 2022 regular season and the start of the playoffs.

Atlanta woke up Monday two wins behind first place in the NL East. Braves CEO Terry McGuirk said they are confident they hope to return to the White House soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were drifting, barely above .500 percentage. But they caught on a winning streak. And they didn’t stop until they took the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden described the Braves’ rally as one of “the greatest comebacks in history.”

“This team has literally been a part of American history for 150 years,” Biden said. “But nothing was easy… people considered them discarded. I know firsthand what it’s like to be considered discarded.”

The Braves players settled behind Biden and greeted those present. But the most talked about player was Hank Aaron, the Hall of Famer who passed away last year.

Aaron was the major league home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players in the franchise and in baseball in general, in addition to living through many hardships — from being born into poverty and segregation in Alabama to the racist threats he faced in breaking one of the holiest records in American sports. He passed away on January 22, 2021 at the age of 86.

“This team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

The president usually receives the champions of the professional leagues and some university sports with a ceremony at the White House. It tends to be a non-political event in which the president extols the virtues of champions, poses for photos and receives a team jersey.

Those visits were loaded with controversy in the previous government. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on security, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, did not welcome the criticism of the players or their demonstrations on the field.

With Biden, the tradition seems to have returned. He has already hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and the NFL champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House.