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President Joe Biden extended the Houston Astros a champions’ welcome on Monday, with the team’s trip from the baseball diamond to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to celebrate its 2022 World Series victory.

The ballclub — including players, coaches, manager Dusty Baker and owner Jim Crane — stood with the president in the East Room as he gave a shout-out to the “legends of Space City” for having “the best season in the American League.”

“Dusty, it wasn’t easy. People counted you out, saying you were past your prime. Hell, I know something about that,” Biden quipped to the team manager, whom former President Barack Obama personally called to the White House in 2016.

“This team didn’t just step up on a field. They stepped up for the community,” he added, commending the Astros’ work raising awareness about domestic violence, supporting pediatric cancer research and holding events for families of the Uvalde school shooting victims. “You athletes underestimate how much hope you give.”

Baker and Crane then gifted the president his own personalized baseball jersey before they all shook hands and posed for pictures.

The Astros clinched the title in November by triumphing over the National League pennant holders, the Philadelphia Phillies, in a six-game showdown.

Their 4-1 win marked the second time the Astros have become the World Series Champions in franchise history. The team first visited the White House in 2018 after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series.

The visit continues a long-standing tradition of presidents hosting victorious sports teams at the White House to pay tribute to their achievements. For almost a century, World Champion baseball teams have made visits, with the 1924 Washington Senators regarded as the pioneers of this practice under the presidency of Calvin Coolidge.

In May, the Bidens welcomed the Louisiana State University Tigers women’s basketball team with a special White House ceremony to celebrate their NCAA championship win. The president has previously honored several major league sports teams with invites, including the Milwaukee Bucks as the reigning NBA champions in 2021, the Golden State Warriors in 2022 and the Kansas City Chiefs for their Super Bowl victory, among others.

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