Congress hustles … to make baseball game


Supporters of the Republican team and of Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) cheer prior to the start of the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on July 14, 2011. The Democrats defeated the Republicans 8-2. (Matt McClain/For The Washington Post)

They’ll work on the day before Christmas or through New Years Eve, but there’s one midsummer tradition Congress isn’t going to miss: The century-old annual Congressional Baseball game.

Both chambers are hustling Wednesday to finish legislative business before the first pitch at Nationals stadium.

At 7:05, the Democrats and Republicans will take the field.

The partisan baseball teams have a lot riding on the game. Republicans are hoping to stay on top with their all-time wins record against the Democrats, while the Dems want to keep their streak going – they’ve beat the GOP five years in a row and last year shut them out 22-0.

One member of the Republican team is already talking smack. Maybe he’s prepping for the caucus morale boosting he’ll do as the newly elected Majority Whip?

Roll Call, which hosts the charity game, highlighted the five players to watch and has a complete roster. It’s mostly House members, but both teams have Senate players, Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for the GOP and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) for the Dems.

The party whose team is victorious only wins bragging rights (imagine if they played ball to sort out policy disagreements?), but the game itself harkens back to a time when relations between the two parties weren’t quite so hostile.

Of course when it comes to important sports matches, the pols don’t have nearly as much on the line this week as Team USA, which needs to beat Germany on Thursday to continue its World Cup run. (Alas, neither the House or Senate plan to be done before that game’s noon start, according to leadership staff. President Obama, on the other hand, will be on Air Force One on the way to Minnesota during the game, but the White House says he can watch it on the plane.)

And speaking of the World Cup, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power made a little beer wager over Twitter with her German counterpart, Harald Braun, ahead of the match. Power used the hashtag “IBelieveThatWeWillWin” to which the German Mission responded with the hashtag “KeepOnDreaming.”

The White House doesn’t know of any bet between Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (insert obvious wiretap joke here). During the 2010 World Cup, Obama bet beer (do politicians bet anything else?) with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Because the two countries tied, each brought the other a cold one.

(Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said only the Republicans had Senate players. We appreciate the commenter below for pointing out the oversight.)

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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