Giants making 'habit' of White House visits 

click to enlarge President Barack Obama stands with the 2012 world champion Giants, holding a bat and ball autographed by the team. - CAROLYN KASTER/AP
  • Carolyn Kaster/ap
  • President Barack Obama stands with the 2012 world champion Giants, holding a bat and ball autographed by the team.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says the Giants are making a "habit" of dropping in at the White House.

Obama welcomed the 2012 World Series champions Monday at a South Lawn ceremony honoring their victory and their community service work. The Giants swept the World Series in October, defeating the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in the final game after nearly being knocked out earlier in the playoffs.

"Some things apparently don't change," Obama said. "And even though they used a different closer down the stretch, this one still had a beard to fear."

The president says their second title in three seasons was because of stellar pitching, defense and timely hitting. But Obama didn't predict that finish. On the campaign trail last year, he anticipated a World Series between the White Sox and the Washington Nationals.

"With these two championships, this team has added another chapter to the storied legacy of players like [Willie] Mays and [Willie] McCovey and [Gaylord] Perry," Obama said. "And I think it's time to add a few more names to that list: [Tim] Lincecum and [Matt] Cain and [Buster] Posey and Kung Fu Panda [Pablo Sandoval]."

The Giants have fallen on hard times thus far in 2013 as they entered play Monday in last place in the NL West, 10 games back of the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Giants presented Obama with a signed World Series bat and baseball, to which the president quipped, "you should know that I can't read any of their signatures. But it's greatly appreciated."

The crowd of well-wishers included Giants Hall of Famer Willie Mays, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

NOTES: Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans said the club will recall first baseman Brett Pill and outfielder Roger Kieschnick today, when the team opens a series at Philadelphia. To clear roster room, infielder Tony Abreu was placed on the 15-day disabled list and outfielder Kensuke Tanaka was optioned to Triple-A Fresno.

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