WASHINGTON, April 26 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the 2009 world champion New York Yankees to the White House Monday, congratulating the team on its 27th title.
Noting the presence at the event of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood -- both Yankees fans -- Obama praised the Steinbrenner family, which owns the team, as well as General Manager Brian Cashman and the players for their victory in last season's World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
"Now, it's been nine years since your last title, which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans," Obama said. "I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that. The Cubs, for example."
Obama, a fan of the Chicago White Sox, was playfully referring to the fact that the crosstown rival Chicago Cubs haven't won a World Series title since 1907.
The president also spoke as a Sox fan when he praised the legendary skill of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, saying, "For a White Sox fan like me, it's painful to watch Mariano's cutter when it's against my team, or to see the Yankees wrap up the pennant while the Sox are struggling on the South Side."