Republicans snagged their third win in 13 years in the annual Congressional Baseball Game Wednesday night, beating Democrats 13-12 in a back-and-forth affair that featured a rare out-of-the-park home run.
The annual bipartisan fundraiser, which was cancelled last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, marked a moment of levity in the midst of an intense week on Capitol Hill as Democrats work to pass President BidenJoe BidenVaccination increase includes largest Republican gain since April: Gallup Power grab? The Federal Reserve soon may be our only bank Ford asking salaried workers for vaccination status MORE’s economic agenda.
“What a great win,” Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseFifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill Democratic leaders racing toward Monday infrastructure vote House GOP to whip against bipartisan infrastructure bill MORE (R-La.) told The Hill after the game, pointing to a fence-clearing from Rep. Greg SteubeWilliam (Greg) Gregory Steube21 Republicans vote against awarding medals to police who defended Capitol Wray grilled on FBI’s handling of Jan. 6 Gaetz, House Republicans introduce bill to defund Postal Service covert operations program MORE (R-Fl.), the first in more than a decade.
“Man it was intense — very close all the way through,” Scalise added, emphasizing the importance of the bipartisan tradition at Nationals Park, which was delayed until late September this year because of the pandemic.
“You need to do this every now and then, where you get away from the madness and come out and play the kid’s game in the big league ballpark,” Scalise said. “You’re competing, and it was very intense competition. But we’re going to go back to work tomorrow, but it’s nice to just come and do something like this where you can build better relationships.”
Cheers erupted when Scalise was announced in the stadium. Scalise was shot and seriously wounded in 2017 at a practice for that year’s game, making Wednesday’s victory his first since the incident. He called it a “harbinger of things to come.”
Republicans most recently won the game in 2008 and 2016. Democrats took the mound this year without their former star player, Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondThe Memo: Biden’s immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio Black Caucus meets with White House over treatment of Haitian migrants The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Questions on Biden agenda; unemployment benefits to end MORE, who left Congress to join the Biden administration in January.
The game featured strong showings from players like Rep. Jimmy PanettaJames Varni Panetta20 years later: Washington policymakers remember 9/11 Democrats on key panel offer bill on solar tax incentive The Energy Sector Innovation Credit Act is an industry game-changer MORE (D-Calif.), who hit two triples and an inside-the-park home run. But with the bases loaded later on in the sixth inning, Panetta struck out.
Some Democrats’ confidence hadn’t waned leading up to the game, even with Richmond on the sidelines.
“I’m fired up,” Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellGreene heckles Democrats and they fire back on Capitol steps Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by National Industries for the Blind – Schumer: Dem unity will happen eventually; Newsom prevails MORE (D-Calif.) said as he entered the field to warm up.
Although he wasn’t batting this year, Richmond was still seen warming up with the Democratic team in the outfield as players entered the stadium.
Just before the first pitch, he was inducted into the Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame with former Rep. John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Lobbying world Ex-Rep. John Shimkus joins lobbying firm MORE (R-Ill.), President George H.W. Bush and Biden. Richmond and Shimkus also threw the first pitch.
Biden’s granddaughter, Naomi, accepted the award on his behalf. But the president later arrived at Nationals Park in the second inning — ushered to the field by Richmond — and visited both teams’ dugouts.
p dir=”auto”>Play was paused for a few minutes and resumed while Biden shook hands, took selfies and signed baseballs with other Democrats.
Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.) said the freshmen class brought a lot of “young talent” that contributed to the Republican team’s success.
“It was good to get a win, it’s been a long time,” he said. “As a freshmen to come in and get a win, I’m feeling really good about it.”
He added that the game provided an opportunity for lawmakers to engage in a more collegial setting.
“It was nice to play some baseball and then get to shake the Democrats’ hands, we don’t get a lot of that on the floor,” Moore said.