ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Forget that whole champions "I'm going to Disney World" thing.
When the New York Yankees wrapped up their series here Sunday, roughly one mile from Disneyland, they were headed to the White House for an appointment on Monday.
Now, I immediately figured the obvious, that President Obama had summoned the Yanks as part of his efforts to rein in the financial industry.
What Commissioner Bud Selig hasn't been able to do -- level the playing field between the Yankees and their $200 million payroll and, say, the Pittsburgh Pirates and their $35 million payroll -- I figured was being taken up by Obama somewhere between Goldman Sachs and AIG.
Turns out, false alarm.
"No," Mark Teixeira helpfully informed me. "It's because we're champions."
And so it is that the Yankees will spend an off day before Tuesday's series-opener in Baltimore visiting the Walter Reed Medical Center, lunching in the U.S. Senate Dining Room with the World Series trophy, Senators and wounded warriors and, yes, being welcomed on the South Portico (East Room if it rains) by President Obama.
"It's going to be exciting," Yankees ace CC Sabathia said. "I'm really looking forward to it."
For Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada, this will be the third different sitting president that will welcome them as World Series champions to the White House -- Bill Clinton, the second George Bush and now Barack Obama.
"I don't know if it says they're old or presidents don't have long stays," Yankees manager Joe Girardi quipped. "I don't know what it is, but it's fairly remarkable."
Giarardi has visited the White House before as a player and said it's an awesome experience.
"You're in awe of the physical structure, the building, when you walk in," he said. "But I just think meeting a president ... I don't think any of us can fathom what that life is like. Just imagine what comes across his desk every day."
Sabathia says he'll stick to baseball, that he will bring no advice whatsoever for the president.
"I've got nothing," Sabathia said, grinning.
Likes: Loved Yankees manager Joe Girardi manning up and admitting a strategical mistake in Sunday's game. ... There is no love lost between these Yankees and Angels, who get after it pretty good. Three batters were hit with pitches Sunday: The Yankees' Robinson Cano by Scott Kazmir (who drilled a homer two plate appearances later) and the Angels' Juan Rivera (Javier Vazquez) and Torii Hunter (Damaso Marte). Nobody charged the mound, they all just kept playing -- hard. ... Angels manager Mike Scioscia was insistent that he thinks the play in which Mark Teixeira mowed over catcher Bobby Wilson at the plate Friday night, knocking Wilson into next week, was hard but clean. Teixeira still hadn't spoken with Wilson as of Sunday but had three different people deliver messages of well-wishes and had been assured the messages were received. Wilson, who suffered a concussion and a left ankle strain and was placed on the disabled list, was at Angel Stadium for the first time since the incident on Sunday. "He was playing baseball," Wilson said. "He was playing hard. I know he got hit a few pitches earlier. ... There's no hard feelings towards Tex. I know he wasn't trying to hurt me. Just playing baseball. People can say what they want whether they think it was a clean play or they think it was a dirty play. That's baseball. I know next time around, I'm telling you, I won't back down."
Dislikes: Hate to see the weekend end. Yankees-Angels has developed into one of the better rivalries in the game.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Caught between the longing for love
"And the struggle for the legal tender
"Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
"And the junk man pounds his fender
"Where the veterans dream of the fight
"Fast asleep at the traffic light
"And the children solemnly wait
"For the ice cream vendor
"Out into the cool of the evening
"Strolls the Pretender
"He knows that all his hopes and dreams
"Begin and end there"
-- Jackson Browne, The Pretender