Big League Stew - MLB

White Sox right-hander Octavio Dotel stood in the same room as the most powerful man on Earth and made a decision.

He was going to give President Barack Obama a hug.

Not a regular ol' handshake, like Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, but a full-on embrace.

Presented with a unique opportunity, Dotel took advantage Monday when he was among a team traveling party that visited the White House and met the president, a Chicagoan who also happens to be the highest-ranking White Sox fan in the free world.

Dotel, a native of the Dominican Republic, became enamored with Obama the candidate during the recent presidential election. Yeah, that happened to a few people.


"Just to be close to him and have that chance," Dotel said. "I saw the opportunity to ask for a hug. He said, 'Of course.' That was really nice of him."

It's customary for the most recent World Series winner to meet the president at his house — the Phillies would have gone were it not for the recent untimely loss of announcer Harry Kalas — but the White Sox made a special trip to Washington, D.C. before their series at Baltimore begins Tuesday.

Dotel, who has 83 career saves in 11 seasons and is used in a set-up role for the White Sox, won't forget this off-day.

The embrace "was like I won the World Series," Dotel said. "I was nervous and sweating. But it was a great moment, I'm telling you."

Does this mean that Obama endorses Dotel instead of Bobby Jenks to be Chicago's closer? Whoa, whoa, let's not take one embrace out of context!

After their 2005 World Series appearance, the White Sox visited the White House and met President George Bush. Dotel has been to the White House before, too, when he was with the Houston Astros. Bush wasn't available that day.

"Nothing against President Bush, but this was a totally different feeling," Dotel said. "President Obama was there, and he knows the White Sox."

Obama, a former U.S. senator and Illinois state senator from the Chicago's South Side, tossed out the first pitch before Game 2 of the '05 ALCS. The Sox invited Obama to throw out the first pitch on opening day a couple of weeks ago but he couldn't make it.

General manager Ken Williams gave the president a jersey. I couldn't find any pics on the wire of the meeting, but we do have this lovely shot of Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, A.J. Pierzynski and others walking outside of America's most famous building.

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