Piniella spends time with the President
Skipper visits Obama in Oval Office during White House tour
WASHINGTON -- Cubs manager Lou Piniella met the country's No. 1 White Sox fan on Thursday, President Barack Obama, but didn't try to get him to switch loyalties.
Piniella and his family took a tour of the White House and were able to get five minutes with President Obama in the Oval Office.
"We didn't talk about baseball," Piniella said. "He was very personable with my grandkids and my wife and children. I was very appreciative. He's a class man and has done a really nice job for our country. It was just an honor and pleasure being in his presence."
Piniella and his family had lunch at the White House with the President's top adviser, David Axelrod, and some of his staff. Then they met with with Mr. Obama before watching him leave in his helicopter. The Piniella contingent visited the situation room in the White House and went to the Rose Garden, then the skipper had to go to Nationals Park for an early workout.
"It's always a pleasure and a thrill," Piniella said about meeting presidents. "I'd never met Mr. Obama personally, but I'd heard so many wonderful things about him. I came away more impressed than ever."
Piniella has met other presidents, including both Bushes, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
"I go back a ways," Piniella said.
He got news about the tour during a fishing trip in Michigan with the family during the All-Star break.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said. "I couldn't have come away more impressed with this gentleman. He's a picture of class and tranquility. I can see why he's had success and is enjoying success as commander in chief of our country."
Piniella may not have talked baseball with Mr. Obama, but he did with the president's staff.
"They didn't have any lineup ideas, like you all do," Piniella quipped to the media.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.