Biden credited professional athletes with helping Americans pull through the pandemic as he welcomed the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 2020 World Series champions, to the White House on Friday in an otherwise lighthearted event.
“I think what we discovered is that we need sports more than we ever realized,” Biden said, with a few dozen of the team’s players perched behind him on risers in the East Room.
For a few hours a day, baseball games during the shortened 2020 season offered “something familiar, something normal, something that’s fun in the middle of the chaos,” Biden said.
The president also thanked the Dodgers for hosting a vaccine site at their stadium, as well as turning it into a polling location in last year’s election.
“Not only does Dodger Stadium host world champions, it helps save lives and strengthen our democracy as well,” he said, noting that the team had the best win percentage in baseball since 1954 and predicted it could make a return trip to the White House after this season.
Biden, a former senator from Delaware, also reminisced about hitting a ball off the outfield wall during a Congressional Baseball Game.
Veteran pitcher Clayton Kershaw spoke on behalf of the team, also referring to the challenges of last year’s games played during the pandemic.
“Last season was a special one for us,” Kershaw said. “But it was also a challenging one for our country. And our hope was that we were able to provide just a little bit of joy and comfort and relief to our fans that were going through some tough times.”
Those who in attendance at the event included two prominent politicians with California connections: Vice President Harris, who represented the state in the Senate prior to entering her current office; and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).