The 7 p.m. start time for the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game was nearing, but a few starters for the team fielded by Members of Congress were missing.
The Senate was taking late votes, the word came, and the women would be there just as soon as that pesky farm bill was taken care of.
Plenty of joking ensued in the bleachers about how the “do-nothing” upper chamber had picked the wrong night to get something done (hey, it was that kind of crowd).
Finally, the senators arrived and the game, which pits Members against a team made up of journalists, was on — with only a fifteen-minute delay (a mere blink of an eye in Senate time).
Ultimately, the lawmakers’ full roster wasn’t enough to match the performance by the Bad News Babes, who won 13-10. It was looking like a blowout for the reporters, who were leading 11-1, until the sixth, when lawmakers mounted a rally, assisted by some walks and RBIs for Reps. Colleen W. Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) and Susan A. Davis(D-Calif.). Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) also came up with strong late-inning hits.
Standout performances from the media team included ABC’s Amy Walters, who hit multiple singles and was a vacuum at shortstop, and Emmarie Huetteman of the New York Times, who smacked a triple.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) announced the game, along with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, providing colorful details about each of the sluggers as they came to bat. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) “tap-danced as a young girl” and Rep. Shelley Moore-Capito met her husband on a blind date, the crowd learned.
The game, which took place just blocks away from the Capitol at Watkins Recreational Center, benefits the Young Survival Coalition, a group dedicated to helping young breast-cancer victims.
Before the first pitch, over in the members’ dugout, the atmosphere was convivial and confident.
“Two times the age, three times the determination,” said Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), noting — and dismissing — the relative youth of the media team.
The media team was equally cool.
“They can’t trash-talk their way to victory,” said Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, as she fueled up for the game with a hot dog and readied her gardening gloves — which do double duty as batting gear. “You know those politicians — talk, talk, talk.”
Jennifer Mershdorf, CEO of the Young Survival Coalition, was determined not to take sides. “It’s incredible that at a time when there’s so much back and forth in politics, that people can just come together like this,” she said. “The most important message we have is that young women can and do get breast cancer.”