Both sides had grand old time playing ball at Nats Park
The humidity was grotesquely high, the talent level on the field was extremely low and it was the most fun I’d had at a ballpark in a long time. For a first-timer at the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park, Thursday night’s tilt between the Democrats and the Republicans provided a surprisingly good time, without all the bells, whistles and hassles of the big league experience.
Sure the baseball is atrocious, but who cares? Lines weren’t crushingly long, there were a handful of giveaways at the gate and you know, the president might show up. Unfortunately, he missed a huge opportunity to be a part of the Presidents Race. After emerging from the Democrats’ dugout in the fourth inning, he simply shook hands and posed for photos instead of getting involved with Teddy’s win.
Before the game, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) was warming up in right field with his fellow GOPers. Normally, he would be in the Republicans’ pitching rotation, but the lefty was on the DL. Sporting a full Harrisburg Senators uniform, he calls the Nationals his Nationals League team. “It’s exciting for me because I’m a Yankee fan, and in my old district, I had the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Then I come to Congress and I’m down here with the Nats, and the Nats are my National League team, and I get them in the minor leagues, so for me it was best of both worlds,” Barletta said. “I can’t go wrong.”
Of course, the night was a remarkably Washington event. People held up signs that read “Winner gets Hillary’s personal server,” and many Hill staffers wore apparel supporting their congressional representative. And even though the president made an appearance, the most fun moment of the evening came courtesy Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) the only woman on the field.
Wearing Roman numeral IX (for Title IX) on the back of her Norwalk Eagles jersey, a high school in her district, she came up to pinch-hit in the sixth inning. She was playing in her 12th Congressional Baseball Game, having missed only one year in her tenure because she had a baby, who is now 6 years old and was sitting in the crowd.
On the first pitch, she laced a single to right field, causing the largest roar of the night. The Dems went on to win, 5-2, and break the series tie while extending their winning streak. And on one summer night in Washington, no one was particularly upset to be on the losing side of the aisle.