The Democrats beat the Republicans in a high-scoring 14-7 win Wednesday night in the 58th annual Congressional Baseball Game. It was the Democrats’ 10th win in 11 years.
The theme for this year’s event was “For the love of the game,” highlighting how the annual game brings together lawmakers from across the political spectrum for a worthy cause. The game raised $1.3 million for Congressional Sports for Charity, a foundation which supports charities for children and families in the Washington, D.C. area.
The fans at Nationals Park were treated to a star-studded affair even before the game began. The baseball for the first pitch was brought onto the field by the Budweiser Clydesdales, escorted by country music star Big Kenny of the band Big & Rich. And the ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Josh Norman of the Washington Redskins.
The opening ceremonies for the game also included a tribute to veterans and active duty service members, who were cheered by both teams and the crowd.
The players on the Republican team wore jerseys of red and white while the Democrats wore jerseys from schools and teams in the districts and states they represent. This year, the Democrats had two women on their team, Reps. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.) and Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.), both in the infield.
Sánchez has been a mainstay on the team for 13 years, and the only Democratic woman, until she recruited Barragán to the team.
The players received roaring applause from fellow lawmakers, staffers and their families in the stands, and the cheers reached a crescendo when House Minority Whip (R-La.) stepped onto the field.
Scalise was seriously wounded two years ago when he was shot while practicing for the game. Scalise returned to the game last year after a difficult recovery, taking up his position at second base for one play.
This year, Scalise stepped into the batter’s box and reached first base on an error, after which he was substituted out.
“The Congressional Baseball Game is just such a special tradition,” Scalise said before the game. “We compete ferociously, but you make… long-lasting relationships too.”
The runs came early with both teams tied at 3-3 after the 1st inning. But it wasn’t a close game for long. The Democrats soared to a 7-3 lead in the 3rd and were up by a daunting 11-3 edge by the 5th inning.
The Republican team though rallied and battled back in the 6th to bring the game to 11-7. But in the end they were no match for the Dems, who scored 3 more runs to take the game.
Rep. (La.), a pitcher for the Democrats, took home the MVP award.
The organizers also took a moment to pay tribute to the Tim Johnson, a former congressional staffer and a founding member of Congressional Sports for Charity, who died last year. Johnson was honored with the creation of a new memorial scholarship in his name.