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White House Welcomes Baseball Champions Florida Marlins - 2004-01-24

President Bush welcomed the Major League Baseball champions Florida Marlins to the White House Friday to celebrate the team's second World Series championship last October. Mr. Bush used the occasion to re-emphasize his call for elimination of drugs in sports.

The underdog Florida Marlins won their second ever World Series title in 2003 by beating the New York Yankees in six games. Mr. Bush, the former part owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, said that sports figures serve as role models both on and off the field.

The president also used the occasion to reiterate his message about eliminating steroids from sports in the United States.

"Professional sports has got an obligation to send the right message to our children," he said. "And I hope the Florida Marlins and the players, and players all around America, join me in getting rid of steroids in sports right now, so as to send the right signal to our kids and to help parents raise healthy children."

In his State of the Union message Tuesday night, Mr. Bush had called on professional sports, including baseball, to eliminate steroid use. Mr. Bush's statement comes as several Major Leaguers, including home run king Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, have been questioned in connection with the new so-called designer steroid THG.