President Obama welcomed the world champion New York Yankees to the White House Monday, after the team visit wounded war veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The president was presented with a team jersey after brief remarks to a packed crowd in the East Room.

Mr. Obama -- a die-hard Chicago White Sox fan -- lamented that the Yankees are easy to love. He quickly followed with a remark that the team was likewise easy to hate. "For the millions of Yankees fans in New York and around the world who bleed blue, nothing beats that Yankee tradition: 27 World Series titles; 48 Hall of Famers," Mr. Obama said. "It's hard to imagine baseball without the long line of legends who've worn the pinstripes."

The president praised the players for their altruism, reminding fans that "being a Yankee is as much about character as it is about performance; as much about who you are as what you do."

He specifically pointed to Bronx Bombers Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, and manager Joe Girardi for their leadership and charitable contributions off the field.

After receiving his signed jersey from Girardi, Mr. Obama took a photo with the team and the World Series trophy. He was teased by a member of the Yankee organization who offered to let him hold the prize, joking that he may never again have the chance. The crowd erupted in laughter. But the president was quick on his feet. "And you wonder why the other teams don't root for them," he retorted.