Why the first 5-10 minutes are so enjoyable is because of the President's connection to Chicago, and as such he gets into the meaning of the team taking 108 years to get there, and how he (as a rival White Sox fan) reacted, as well as his wife -- who was a lifelong Cubs fan, as were several on his staff. You don't get that from most White House ceremonies.
Among other things, he notes that he's hosted about 50 of these ceremonies at the White House, and it's the very first one (with four days left in his presidency) that the First Lady attended. And he repeats a story she told the team which he acknowledges almost had him in tears. There's a hilarious story about the reaction of his longest-serving assistant Anita, as well as one about staff members who played hooky during the playoffs -- including one fellow who ended up getting interviewed on-air at a bar outside Wrigley Field.
Much later in the ceremony, he talks about how Michelle Obama's favorite Cub player growing up was Jose Cardenal, who played with the team in the 1970s, and she insisted he be invited -- and that he got the biggest hug from her when the team met the family.
There's also an extremely nice speech afterwards by team president Theo Epstein, who gets his own White Sox jabs in, along with some really terrific gifts. In fact, when Mr. Obama returns to the mic, he notes that it's the best swag he's received from one of these ceremonies. Among the gifts were a framed number "44" tile from the historic Wrigley Field scoreboard, and a "W" flag (flown at Wrigley after a Cubs win) signed by all the players to be flown at the Obama Library when its built.
And yes, at the very end the ceremony, you can hear the room break into..."Go, Cubs, Go!" by Steve Goodman. So, you know there are A LOT of Chicago there...
One last update from my Media Alert yesterday. The Cubs not only invited team legend and Hall of Famer Billy Williams to participate, but two other team legend and Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins and Ryne Sanderberg. Good for them! (Not to mention the aforementioned Jose Cardenal.)