Team USA excited to meet President
Teagarden makes up for a meeting he previously missed
"We are all honored he came by, and everyone was feeling great, and we had a lot of energy when he was here," said manager Davey Johnson. "I think everybody got to talk to him and got a signed ball or took a picture with him. He was very gracious. Everybody on the ballclub was very impressed. Now our work begins. The fun and games are over, and now our work begins."
Johnson and the team presented President Bush with an autographed USA Baseball jersey signed by the team and staff. He and his family also received USA Baseball hats. After meeting the team and throwing out ceremonial first pitches to both the U.S. and China, President Bush watched a little bit of the exhibition between both countries before departing back to the United States. Pitcher Jake Arrieta (Farmington, Mo.) was one of the players that had the opportunity to talk with President Bush.
"I was shocked to meet him at first and a little nervous," said Arrieta. "It was great that he was able to come out here and say, hi, individually to all of us. We got to take photos with him, and it is nice to have the support like that, especially on an individual basis. I know he is extremely busy, but for him to take the time out of his schedule and spend a little bit of time with us is very special."
Arrieta and President Bush's conversation included a brief exchange on the state of Texas. Arrieta played in the Lone Star State at Texas Chrisitian before his professional career.
"He told me that he is in the process of buying a new place in Texas," said Arrieta. "I know he is from Texas, we talked about Dallas a little bit, and he says he loves the city and enjoys going out to Fort Worth. It was nice to have a little bit of a conversation with him. My family is going to be jealous, and it is something I'll remember for a long time."
Another U.S. player with Texas ties is catcher Taylor Teagarden (Dallas), who attended the University of Texas from 2003-05 and was on the national championship squad for the Longhorns in his final season. Teagarden remarked about how he appreciated the chance to meet the President, after missing out in 2005.
"It was awesome," said Teagarden. "It was kind of everything I thought it would be. When I played in college, the guys that won a national championship before me got to go to Washington and meet him, and I didn't get a chance to. I didn't know if I was ever going to have that opportunity [to meet him]. He kind of surprised me the other night, at Opening Ceremonies he made that appearance, and it was unbelievable. He came up to me and he knew who I was, having played at Texas and him and his family having ties there, so that was awesome. I'm a big fan of his, so it was pretty exciting."
Following the time spent with President Bush, the U.S. got down to business on the field and defeated China, 7-3. Left-hander Brett Anderson (Midland, Texas) hurled five scoreless innings and allowed just five hits while striking out eight batters. Nate Schierholtz (Reno, Nev.) tallied two hits, including a solo homer, with Matt Brown (Bellevue, Wash.) adding a double and single as well.
The U.S. will practice on Tuesday, the team's final tuneup before opening Olympic Competition on Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 6 p.m. (local time) vs. Korea. Tuesday's practice is open to the media and is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Wukesong Baseball Facility.