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President Bush Invites Little Leaguers to Play Tee Ball Games on White House South Lawn for Fourth Year

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (April 29, 2004) – President George W. Bush is inviting some Tee Ball players to have a ball in his back yard again, with Little League International organizing the events for the fourth consecutive year.

Nine Tee Ball games have been played on the South Lawn in the past three years, with President Bush attending each time and giving each player, manager and coach an autographed baseball and certificate. First Lady Laura Bush has also attended several games, as have various members of the president’s cabinet, congresspersons, and notable athletes.

President Bush made the announcement via video on April 19 at the Little League International Congress in Virginia Beach, Va. In his taped remarks to more than 1,500 Little League volunteers in attendance at the Pavilion Convention Center, President Bush said: “Laura and I have really enjoyed working with Little League to host Tee Ball games on the South Lawn of the White House. … We're looking forward to another successful season of White House Tee Ball in 2004.”

No specific dates for the games this year have been set. Those leagues interested in having a team considered for this program should visit the Little League web site (www.littleleague.org) for more information.

Earlier this year, in a dinner at the White House to honor dozens of members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, President Bush spoke of his love for baseball, and his fondness for hosting Tee Ball games.

“It's such a wonderful sport,” he said. “There aren't any time limits, which means you can go and enjoy yourself. It's a great place to go and relax. It's a wonderful place to visit with somebody you love. … It's an important part of our history. And we love to herald it here. We love to herald it so much that one of my favorite things to do is to host Tee Ball on the South Lawn, so that future Hall of Famers can come and say to one of their classmates, ‘I love baseball, and I got to play at the White House.’ “

President Bush played Little League Baseball in Midland, Texas, in the 1950s. His team was the Cubs, and he was known as a good defensive player. He also is the first Little League graduate to become President.

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world largest youth sports organization, with approximately 2.7 million players in all 50 states and dozens of other countries. Approximately 35 million people have played or volunteered for Little League since it was founded in 1939.