Champ Red Sox to visit White House on Wednesday

Updated: February 26, 2008, 7:02 PM ET
Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The white Red Sox jersey with the name "Bush" and the number "07" on the back traveled around the clubhouse. One by one, the World Series champions signed it with a blue Sharpie.

It's a gift from Boston's players to President Bush, who will preside at the annual White House ceremony honoring baseball's best on Wednesday.

"I'm extremely excited," AL rookie of the year Dustin Pedroia said. "It's a great opportunity for guys that didn't go there in '04."

Several members of the 2004 champions will make the return trip. Manager Terry Francona is one of them, but the part he remembered best was the team's visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

"Walter Reed, no question," he said. "You're looking at kids that have lost limbs but it was humbling. It was an honor to be there.

"Everybody wanted to stay and talk. I've heard a lot of the veteran guys telling the younger guys, this is what you'll remember about this trip," he said.

They didn't spend much time at the White House "but it was cool," Francona said.

He also attended a baseball-themed dinner there Jan. 22 with World Series MVP Mike Lowell and visited the Oval Office.

"I'm a social visitor now," Francona joked, "me and Mikey Lowell."

Lowell also was looking forward to the hospital visit.

"It's going to be an unbelievable experience. As players, we have as much respect for them as they have for us maybe as fans. It's probably going to be pretty emotional," he said.

Coco Crisp said he'll be making his first trip to the White House. The center fielder has never met a president before.

"The closest I got was to Gerald Ford Street in Palm Springs," he said.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press