Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 23, 2014

Posts in "Sports Desk"

July 22, 2014

Congressional Baseball Game Box Score Tells a Tale

Congressional Baseball Game Box Score Tells a Tale

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Hot off the presses comes the box score for the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, which tells a tale of offensive firepower and creative defensive statistics, combined with an attendance of 8,503 at Nationals Park.

For those who attended the June 25 game to watch the Democrats’ 15-6 victory over the Republicans before the game was called due to rain in the seventh inning, the standout statistic might be that the Democrats’ runs came off of 11 hits, while the Republicans only managed those six runs off of nine hits.

Pitching was a key differential for the two squads. Democratic ace Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana pitched six frames, while four Republicans combined for six-and-one-third innings: Reps. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, John Shimkus of Illinois, and Patrick Meehan and Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania.

Richmond walked only 3 batters, while the GOP walked 12 batters. That, combined with two errors from the GOP team, allowed a tough Democratic squad to capitalize and put the game out of reach.

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July 16, 2014

Senate Softball Rivalry Once Again in Full Swing

Party lines, schmarty lines.

The key thing that keeps Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., going while here in D.C. is the burning desire to topple the other in their annual softball showdown.

Team Scrantonicity has faced off against the Hit It Toomey squad each summer for the past three years with mixed results. Scrantonicity throttled its foes 20-10 last year, but Team Toomey has wracked up more “W”s than losses over time.

“Sadly team Toomey leads the all-time series 2-1. But I’m quite confident the series will be all even after tonight’s festivities,” a Casey aide assured HOH in a trash-talking email.

Those looking to get swept up in softball mania should make their way over to the National Mall (Seventh and Madison streets NW) around 6:45 p.m. to catch all the action.

Look for Casey to be snagging flies in the outfield (our tipster says the boss typically patrols right field), while Toomey tends to plant himself at third.

July 11, 2014

Sherrod Brown Touts LeBron’s Reunion with Cavs as Slam-Dunk — OVERHEARD

“Welcome home LeBron … We look forward to your contributions and leadership, on the court and off. And celebrating a championship wouldn’t hurt.”  — Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, celebrates LeBron James’ re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

July 2, 2014

The Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game in 3 Minutes (Video)

From the opening stretches to Speaker John A. Boehner’s slow jam, watch members in all their glory as the Democrats capture their sixth-straight coveted Roll Call trophy in a 15-6 victory.

June 30, 2014

Fantasy Softball Winners Awarded Their Prizes

Fantasy Softball Winners Awarded Their Prizes

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The women of Congress weren’t the only ones celebrating after this year’s sixth annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game.

Roll Call has announced the Fantasy Softball Challenge winners, and the top three entries received some coveted prizes.

As part of the competition, participants chose nine players from either team and earned points based on each player’s performance (10 points for a single, 20 for a double, etc.). Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 2:59 p.m.
Sports Desk

June 27, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of June 23 (Video)

While members counted votes and confused reporters in their final week before the July Fourth recess, John A. Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell sang to overcome the odds.

Harry Reid Would Rather Watch Tennis Than the NFL

Harry Reid Would Rather Watch Tennis Than the NFL

Reid, pictured here with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, says he prefers baseball to the NFL. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Maybe Dan Synder isn’t worried about Harry Reid because professional football is not the Nevada Democrat’s favorite sport.

In fact, Reid says he would rather watch tennis than the NFL.

Reid has been among the most vocal in calling for the Washington Redskins to change the name of the franchise, saying that he would not attend another game until the team changes its name.

Full story

June 26, 2014

Democrats Dominate Congressional Baseball Game Once Again (Video)

Democrats Dominate Congressional Baseball Game Once Again (Video)

Rep. Mike Doyle holds up the trophy as the rain begins to fall after his team won the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For the sixth straight year, Democrats proudly hoisted the coveted Roll Call trophy at Nationals Park — before running for cover from the rain.

But the ensuing thunderstorm did not dampen the Democrats’ spirits after beating their Republican colleagues in the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game by a final score of 15-6. The game’s most valuable players were Reps. Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., and Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

“That’s pretty special,” Manager Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania said about the Democrats’ sixth straight victory. “It feels good and it’s one of those streaks you don’t want to end but you know it will someday. So we’re trying to enjoy it while it’s happening.”

Full story

Democrats Win Sixth Straight Congressional Baseball Game (Video)

The congressional Democrats’ baseball team secured a sixth straight victory on Wednesday night at Nationals Park, winning the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game by a score of 15-6 and securing a second straight coveted Roll Call trophy.

At a members’ reception after the game, Rep. Raul Ruiz of California secured the MVP honor for the victorious Democrats and Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas won the GOP’s MVP.

Ruiz posted impressive offensive numbers — hitting two doubles in the Democrats’ eight-run fifth inning — and showing impressive defensive skills at second base. Brady, a previous MVP during a more successful baseball era for the Republicans, showed off his offensive skills at the plate, securing two hits off of Democratic ace Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana.

 

June 25, 2014

Democratic Shortstop Injured on Game Day

Democratic Shortstop Injured on Game Day

Huffman, on the disabled list. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., who was slated to play shortstop for the Democrats in tonight’s 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, will have to watch from the sidelines this year.

Huffman injured his shoulder during the team’s  practice Wednesday morning. This would have been the second game for Huffman, who was elected to the House in 2012. And although he is disappointed he won’t be playing this year, he is confident his Democratic teammates will prevail.

“The good news is we have great depth on this team and we’re not going miss a beat,” Huffman told Roll Call in a phone interview. “I’m going to enjoy being a lightly medicated spectator and cheering for my team. And I’m confident that we’re going to be very strong” Full story

Beyond the Stars: Congressional Baseball Players to Watch

Beyond the Stars: Congressional Baseball Players to Watch

Sanchez isn’t tall, but she packs a punch in the batter’s box. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

For someone who hasn’t been to a Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game before, it’s easy to spot a few players who stand out. There’s Rep. Cedric L. Richmond throwing flames from the pitcher’s mound. The Louisiana Democrat has 21 strikeouts and four earned runs in the past two games. Over that same span, he’s gone 5-for-7 at the plate, with three runs scored and two runs batted in.

On the other side of the aisle/field is Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, whose consistency is rivaled by only the Arizona sun. Over the past five years, he has batted over .300 with a double, a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored. In the field he’s just as good. The last error he made was in 2009, in a game that has had 24 errors since then.

But baseball is a team game. The following five players might not have a lot of flash, but they’re worth paying attention to.

1. Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, D-Calif.    
Sánchez gets hearty cheers and jeers, depending on the side, when she steps up to the batter’s box. While she’s not very tall at 5 feet, 1 inch, she stands high in the batter’s box; during the past four games, she has had two hits in six at-bats, knocking in four runs. If she were on the Republican team, she would lead the team in RBIs. Flake and GOP Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster have two RBIs apiece over the same span.

2. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla.    
Rooney had a rough three-game stretch from 2009 through 2011, going hitless in six at-bats. The former Syracuse Orange football player turned it around in the past two years going 2-for-3. He got one of only three hits by the Republicans last year.

3. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo.    
Like the Colorado Rockies’ all-time run leader, Todd Helton, there isn’t a lot of dazzle to Perlmutter’s game, but he gets the job done. In the past three years, the Democrat has scored six runs, including four in 2013. Perlmutter also stole a base in 2013.

4. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.
In 2009 and 2010, Donnelly hit a rough patch going a combined 0-for-4. Since then the junior Democratic senator from Indiana has gone 3-for-5 with three runs, a double, and an RBI. He finds a way to get on base other ways too, having been hit by pitches on two separate occasions.

5. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.
Much like the nearby Pittsburgh Pirates, Shuster is consistently inconsistent. Over the past five years, during an odd-numbered year, he has no hits in seven at-bats. In even-numbered years, he’s 3-for-7 with two RBIs. We’re in an even-numbered year, so expect a big game from Shuster.

Get your tickets to the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. 

 

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The Updated Staffer Guide to the Congressional Baseball Game

Bart Stupak Scraps His Way to Congressional Baseball Hall Of Fame

Vulnerable Members Hope There’s a Next Year for Their Congressional Baseball Careers

Roll Call’s Unsung Congressional Baseball Heroes

Roll Calls Unsung Congressional Baseball Heroes

Yudain, Roll Call’s founder, created a lot of memories on the Hill, especially when he decided to bring back congressional baseball. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sid, Buddy, Skip, Kassy, Joe and Tim are not on the rosters for the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. But they have all helped shape this monument to Capitol camaraderie, a game that allows public servants to shed power suits and briefing books in favor of leather and lumber on Nationals Park’s elegant diamond.

Roll Call founder Sid Yudain thought it was a shame that Speaker Sam Rayburn, D-Texas, pulled the plug on the Capitol’s midsummer classic in 1958. In 1962, Sid partnered with Speaker John McCormack, D-Mass., to bring the game back, and now we find ourselves — more than half-a-century later —under the lights.

Sadly, this year’s game will be the first one since then without Sid, who died in October. But his infectious spirit and love of the Capitol community leaves a legacy we at Roll Call are proud to follow.

It’s that character that brought Coach Kenneth “Buddy” Burkhead to the game. Buddy, as everyone called him, was a one-time Capitol Police officer and veteran coach for the Democrats’ squad. He died in April, and the outpouring of stories and tributes to Coach Buddy, from the Capitol to St. Albans, where he also coached, were a testament to his dedication to the game. One of his fellow coaches, Joe Foley, recalled that it was nice having a no-nonsense cop (Buddy was on Speaker Carl Albert’s protection detail at one point) at early morning practices at Randall Field, which hasn’t always been the nicest neighborhood.

Speaking of Joe, he’s in his 40th year now of being affiliated with the game (“I started when I was six,” he joked), and he’s experienced it in every venue from Langeley High School to Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, Four Mile Run Park, Prince George’s Stadium, RFK Stadium and now Nats Park. Although he’s been asked when he is going to hang it up, given multiple injuries and early morning, rainy practices, his reply is simple: “It’s baseball. How could I say no?”

Tim Johnson, a 20-year coaching veteran, introduced me to Joe, who relayed more stories about Buddy and other coaches, like Gary Caruso, who’s been guiding squads for 30 years, than this program has room for.

Some of those stories overlap with memories, photos and clips that people such as Skip Maraney and Kassy Benson have shared with us.

Skip, who long ago spearheaded Roll Call’s sports coverage with his Skip-a-Long and Capitol Sports features, shared a massive, not-available-online portfolio, underscoring how rich the history of the game is, as you’ll see in our “vintage” section on Page 30.

Kassy, a baseball game cheerleader and one-time Roll Call pin-up girl (not a misprint!) told us a story that shows just how much the game was, and is, a part of the Hill’s culture. “After work, we decided to practice our cheerleading in the hallway in front of the Doorkeeper’s Office. We were very loud. It never occurred to us that we would disturb anyone since it was after hours, but what we didn’t take into consideration was that the Senate was still in session. They sent someone down to quell our enthusiasm :),” she shared.

It’s an enthusiasm that hasn’t let up for 53 years.

So a tip of the cap to those (Sid, Buddy) who aren’t here to see the latest run for the coveted Roll Call Trophy. And another tip of the cap to those who still are (Joe, Skip, Kassy, Tim and many more) and who make this game what it is. Play ball.

 

Related:

Congressional Baseball Game Helps D.C. Adults Get Second Chance at Washington Literacy Center

Joseph Crowley Savors Diamond Memories From Congressional Baseball Games

The Updated Staffer Guide to the Congressional Baseball Game

Bart Stupak Scraps His Way to Congressional Baseball Hall Of Fame

Vulnerable Members Hope There’s a Next Year for Their Congressional Baseball Careers

Joe Donnelly: From ‘The Sandlot’ to Nationals Park

Joe Donnelly: From The Sandlot to Nationals Park

Donnelly, left, and Rep. Tim Ryan share a moment during warmups at the 50th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s 1960 and a young boy is tossing a baseball with his dad in the backyard, dreaming of playing in the outfield for the New York Yankees one day, just like his idol Mickey Mantle.

Fast-forward 54 years and that same boy is playing in the outfield at Nationals Park. But he isn’t a professional ballplayer. He’s a U.S. senator.

Sen. Joe Donnelly will take the field at Nationals Parks for the eighth time Wednesday, as an outfielder for the Democrats in the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. “If I could do one thing every day, it would be to be out playing ball,” Donnelly told CQ Roll Call. Full story

June 24, 2014

Wisconsin Candidate Goes to Bat With Baseball Ad

As members of Congress suit up for the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, one congressional candidate is using America’s pastime to appeal to voters.

Wisconsin state Rep. Duey Stroebel is running in a contested Republican primary in the state’s 6th District, which was vacated when Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., announced his retirement.

Stroebel showcased his family in the 30-second spot released last week, and said he and his wife have used baseball to teach their children important life lessons. Full story

Vulnerable Members Hope There’s a Next Year for Their Congressional Baseball Careers

Vulnerable Members Hope There’s a Next Year for Their Congressional Baseball Careers

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“Play every game as if it was your last,” says every manager worth his weight in sunflower seeds. And for a handful of members, the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game will be their last if they don’t win re-election later this year.

“This can’t be my last game. I still have at least a dozen hometown high school jerseys I need to wear,” joked Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell. After knocking off long-time Democratic Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark in California’s 15th District in 2012, Swalwell was vulnerable to a challenge from another aspiring Democrat.

Swalwell caught a break in the primary earlier this month, though, and now the 33-year-old, one-time soccer recruit at the University of Maryland is the prohibitive favorite in the fall in a very Democratic Bay Area district.

Other members aren’t quite as fortunate.

Illinois Republican Rep. Rodney Davis is in the middle of the trifecta of congressional danger. He fended off a well-funded primary challenger in March, but is now one of Democrats’ top general election takeover targets. Even more challenging is the fact that he must face Democrats’ star pitcher, Louisiana Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, in the quest for the coveted Roll Call trophy.

Even though Davis went 0-for-2 against Richmond last year, a re-election loss by the 44-year-old No. 3 hitter to former Madison County Judge Ann Callis in the 13th District would be a blow to the Republican squad.

“I might have to leave practice a little early for an event, but that happens regardless of whether you’re in a competitive race or not,” Davis explained. “Rand Paul is playing and practically running for president,” he said with a laugh, talking about Kentucky’s junior senator/outfielder.

Rep. Jack Kingston is giving up his Georgia House seat to run for Senate. “I probably need practice more than anyone out there,” Kingston said. “Fortunately, most of the guys know what I’m going through.” He finished second in the GOP primary a month ago, and faces businessman David Perdue in the runoff a month from now. If he wins the nomination, Kingston will face a competitive general election against Democrat Michelle Nunn.

“[The game] is a great diversion from the barbecues, phone calls, debates and forums,” Kingston said.

A handful of other members face re-election races of varying degrees of difficulty.

Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is in the middle of a competitive primary with Weston Wamp, son of former Rep. Zach Wamp — a one-time shortstop of the Republican team and the 2013 inductee into the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame. Fleischmann defeated Weston Wamp in the 2012 primary, but they’ll face off again on Aug. 7.

GOP Rep. Steve Pearce represents a growing Hispanic population in New Mexico’s 2nd District. His opponent, former Eddy County Commissioner Roxanne “Rocky” Lara, raised more than $700,000 through the end of March and has been named to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Red to Blue program, but Pearce is still favored to win at this point.

Rep. Bill Johnson is also favored to win his race with former Democratic state legislator Jennifer Garrison, but his Ohio district is competitive. For now, his biggest challenge might be Richmond.

“I’ve never had a chance to come to the plate against him,” Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to having that chance this year.” Johnson has been a part of the Republicans’ “fielding team” in the past, but he should get some at-bats this year when the GOP squad shifts its strategy away from equal playing time for all.

At least one member is playing in his first and likely last game. Louisiana Republican Vance McAllister was elected to Congress in a November special election, and is waffling on whether he’ll seek re-election after a scandal.

California Rep. David Valadao made his congressional baseball debut in 2013. He is not playing in this year’s game, but an aide said the GOP congressman’s tough re-election contest was not a deciding factor. His opponent, Democrat and former Debbie Stabenow chief of staff Amanda Renteria, played softball at Stanford University and could be a force in the annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game — and potentially the baseball game, if she wins in November.

On the Democratic side, it looks like manager Mike Doyle will have his winning roster largely intact for at least another three years. One of Doyle’s best players should also be one of his most vulnerable, but Republicans failed to recruit a top-tier challenger against Florida Rep. Patrick Murphy.

“Nothing in life is easy or guaranteed, except when Cedric Richmond is on the mound,” Murphy said, comparing baseball to running for re-election. “Campaigning is definitely more challenging, but the game is something I look forward to.” Murphy has proved to be a prolific fundraiser and he is one of a handful of Democrats endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Rep. Timothy H. Bishop could be vulnerable, depending on the outcome of the incredibly bitter Republican primary in New York’s 1st District. And Democratic Rep. Raul Ruiz starts as the heavy favorite over Republican state Assemblyman Brian Nestande in California’s 36th District.

Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley is in a competitive race for the Senate, but he bowed out of this year’s game with an apparent shoulder injury.

For weeks, both teams have been battling weather and election calendars in order to practice. “I missed two weeks because of the primary,” Doyle said. He won with 84 percent and resisted the temptation to donate to Keystone State colleague Bill Shuster’s tea-party-fueled primary challenger. Shuster, usually a solid Republican hitter, won his primary with 53 percent.

Doyle has experienced the pain of losing good players to electoral defeat (Ohio Rep. John Boccieri in the 2010 wave, in particular), but is enjoying his talented roster and superstar players because it wasn’t always this way.

“I lived through the Steve Largent years,” Doyle said.

Get your tickets to the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

 

Related:

Congressional Baseball Game Helps D.C. Adults Get Second Chance at Washington Literacy Center

Joseph Crowley Savors Diamond Memories From Congressional Baseball Games

The Updated Staffer Guide to the Congressional Baseball Game

Bart Stupak Scraps His Way to Congressional Baseball Hall Of Fame

 

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