While many World Series champions have opted to wait until a midseason road trip to enjoy the spoils of a White House visit, the St. Louis Cardinals got the tradition out of the way on Tuesday. And though two of the team's biggest stars were not present, the brief ceremony was very nice for everyone who did make the effort and the trip.
Here are a few highlights if you missed the last baseball meet-n-greet of Obama's first four years in office:
• That's two World Series titles, zero White House visits for Albert Pujols. The new Los Angeles Angel spared his old teammates the awkward situation that a post-signing jaunt would have created by skipping his second straight opportunity. Other noticeable no-shows were Tony La Russa, Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and Ryan Theriot.
• President Obama echoed what many of us said in October's aftermath, calling the Cardinals the "greatest comeback team in the history of baseball" and Game 6 "one of the best baseball games of all time."
• It wouldn't have been a White House visit without the president sneaking in a few lines about his White Sox. He lamented the fact that he's still waiting to break out his Pale Hose jacket during a visit (though he'll have to find a way to get re-elected a few more times for that to become a reality with the way things are going on the South Side). He also noted to the Cardinals that La Russa's first managerial gig came in Chicago.
• Team president Bill DeWitt III presented the president with a souvenir World Series baseball bat and instructions to "speak softly and carry a big stick." (That last part isn't actually true, but it would have been a lot cooler if it were.)
• If you ever wondered what it might take to get Lance Berkman to use a razor, you now have your answer. The clean-shaven look also made Puma appear noticeably thinner.
• David Freese continued to be one of the more entertaining MLB Twitter follows with an Abraham Lincoln-inspired picture pose.
• I'm not here to talk about the past, but Mark McGwire sure looked a lot happier on this visit to Washington than the one he made about seven years ago.