The reigning World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers became the first professional sports team to visit the Joe Biden White House on Friday.
The White House confirmed the news on Thursday, writing in a brief message: that "President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet the team in the East Room at 11:40 a.m. Eastern time.
The Dodgers are currently in the nation's capital to face the Washington Nationals during a four-game series that concludes on Sunday.
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The Dodgers were "hopeful" they would visit the White House last Friday, but the final date and time had not been confirmed yet.
"I've heard rumblings that it's going to happen," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts before Friday's game against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium. "We're pretty hopeful that it's going to happen."
The Los Angeles Lakers, also champions of the National Basketball Association, tried to visit the White House in April when they played the Washington Wizards, but ultimately had to cancel their visit because of COVID-19 protocols and a scheduling conflict with the President. Breaking precedent with his predecessor, Donald Trump, Biden formally invited the Lakers for a visit earlier in the year.
The Dodgers last visited the White House in 1988 after they won the World Series. They visited the White House during Ronald Reagan's final days in office as documented in the photo below posted by team photographer Jon Soo Hoo.
Roberts indicated that not everyone on the team would be allowed to attend the White House visit, as there are still health and safety protocols within the White House itself.
"It has been very difficult," said Roberts about trying to schedule and plan the visit with the White House. "Obviously, correspondence with the White House, they've got a lot of important things going on, so the Dodgers have done a great job trying to figure it out for the players, the staff and coaches. We still don't have complete finality, but I know that I'm personally excited if the opportunity presents itself. I think our coaches and players are as well."
The Dodgers party visiting the White House is expected to be limited to around 50 people because of COVID-19 protocols. That means that most of the 28-man roster that played in the World Series will be on hand, except for the players that are no longer on the team or rehabbing in Arizona.
However, Roberts revealed on Thursday during his pregame media session that 2020 World Series MVP Corey Seager, who is currently on the 60-day injured list with a fractured finger on his right hand, did travel with the team to Washington D.C. and would be among the players visiting the White House on Friday.
Roberts specifically mentioned how excited he is to meet not only President Biden, but Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president in United States History.
"I'd love to meet her," said Roberts. "But it's an honor, something that any champion gets that opportunity—or most champions that win the world championship get that opportunity, so it's something that I've always dreamt about."
Roberts won his first World Series Championship as a player with the Boston Red Sox in 2004, but was traded in December of that year to the San Diego Padres and was not with the team when they visited the White House in March of 2005.
The Washington Nationals, winners of the 2019 World Series were the last MLB team to visit the White House, when former President Trump hosted several members of the team in November of that same year. That visit was extremely controversial as Nationals' catcher Kurt Suzuki donned a "Make America Great Again" hat and was awkwardly hugged from behind by former President Trump.
The Dodgers will face the Nationals in a four-game series Thursday-Sunday at Nationals Park.