Michelle Obama promises to greet players' companions
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- First lady Michelle Obama told Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins right before Game 1 of the World Series that if the Phillies repeat as world champs, this time she will be there at the White House to meet with all of the players' significant others.
The Phillies are one step toward that date.
"We said some funny things and I was cracking jokes," Rollins told MLB.com after the Phillies' 6-1 victory over the Yankees in Game 1. "I said that when we went to the White House, all the ladies were sad that they didn't get to see her -- only Barack. That's who we wanted to see. They wanted to meet with Michelle.
"She said, 'If you win again, I'll be there this time. Bring your wives, girlfriends, fiancees, whoever.'"
The Phillies originally planned to visit the White House in mid-April, but it was postponed due to the passing of the team's beloved broadcaster, Harry Kalas.
A team spokesperson said Wednesday night that the original plan had been for the players' significant others to travel along with them and spend quality time with Michelle Obama while the president was meeting with the champs.
The rescheduled visit was on May 15, and at the ceremony, Rollins, who made campaign telephone calls on behalf of Barack Obama, presented the president with a No. 44 jersey as the 44th man to become the nation's chief executive.
Rollins was asked after Game 1 whether Michelle Obama had indicated her husband's interest in either team in this World Series. He is a White Sox fan and had not publicly voiced support for either participant.
"No, she didn't say," he said. "But my first question to her was, 'Are you a Sox fan, too?'"
The first lady attended the World Series opener along with Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, in support of Major League Baseball's Welcome Back Veterans initiative that helps U.S. military personnel and their families. Michelle Obama participated in the first-pitch ceremony, and after Purple Heart recipient and Yankees employee Tony Odierno threw the first pitch to Derek Jeter, she greeted the Yankees captain and they exchanged a kiss on the cheek.
Then Obama and Biden exited through the vicinity of the Phillies dugout, and Rollins was able to "say some funny things and crack some jokes."
The Phillies are up 1-0 in this Fall Classic. There is a long way to go, but they are one big step toward another White House visit and this time with a much-requested dignitary in attendance.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.