The Republicans defeated the Democrats 11-10 at Thursday night's 47th annual Congressional Baseball Game. The game raises money for the Washington Literacy Council and the Boys and Girls Club.
Rain,thunder and lightning threatened to cancel the game a little more than an hour before it was supposed to start,but organizers quickly dried the field after the storm passed. The game went on a little later than scheduled.
Game organizers placed an American flag above second base,and fans chanted “Let's go Democrats” and “G-O-P” throughout the seven-inning showdown. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,D-Calif.,attended the game,drawing cheers and boos when she was introduced during the third inning.
The players wore uniforms of high school,college and professional teams from the states they represent.
“My wife says this is why I do Congress,is for this game,and she's not far off the mark,” said Rep. Jeff Flake,R-Ariz.,who played center field for the Republicans. “This is a great,great tradition,and its just great camaraderie,and it's nice to beat the Democrats. When they're in the majority,we hear it all year. At least tonight,we can be king.”
The congressmen and congresswoman – Rep. Linda Sanchez,D-Calif.,was the only woman who played – hit neighborhood baseball fields once or twice a week for early morning practices for the last month to prepare. Though it's competitive,the annual tradition helps build a fun bipartisanship spirit that can transfer to their work on the Hill,said Rep. Joe Baca,D-Calif.,the Democrats' pitcher.
“I think something's missing a lot of times when they tell the stories,but they don't tell about those kinds of relationships that are built,” Baca said. “The relationships that you build out here also help you in terms of policy in the legislature,because then someone may be a little bit more open minded when it comes down to the legislation,because you have that relationship.”
“I really hadn't picked up a baseball in probably 15 to 20 years before I came out here,” said Rep. Chris Murphy,D-Conn.,catcher for the Democrats. “It's definitely an opportunity to relive your glory days,which for me was when I was 13.”
This was the first year the game was held at Nationals Park,and the players said the new park made the experience even more exciting.
“It's beautiful,” said Rep. Adam Putnam,R-Fla.,an outfielder for the Republicans. “It's just every boy's dream to play baseball in a big league stadium. I had to get elected to Congress to pull it off.”