It may be a long time before the Astros make an actual White House visit -- they're not off to a good start on getting that honor bestowed on the World Series champions with their 3-9 start. But they had their own presidential moment Wednesday before their 9-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
It was the talk of the clubhouse before the game as manager Brad Mills, first base coach Bobby Meacham, and Astros players Hunter Pence, Brett Wallace, Chris Johnson and Mark Melancon accepted an invitation to have lunch with former president George H.W. Bush. Also attending were owner Drayton McLane and former first lady Barbara Bush.
"I was a little star-struck when I saw him," Johnson said. "You see athletes all the time. That's totally different. It's totally on another level."
Of course, the Astros have had a chance to see the nation's 41st president before and they wouldn't have to look too hard. The Houston resident -- and his wife, who scores the game -- is a regular in the front row of Minute Maid Park early in the season before he begins his summer vacation in Maine.
Still, the face-to-face time was roundly well received. So, too, were the concrete souvenirs, including a baseball with the presidential seal and Bush's signature that will live in Mills' office.
"I wanted to ask who were (the) mentors in his life," Mills said. "I wanted to listen to who had the influence in his life besides his mother and dad. One person was Ronald Reagan, who he served as vice president. He was very impressed with him."
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