Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 31, 2014

Posts in "Sports Desk"

July 30, 2014

Marking the Quarter-Century Point for the Greatest Floor Speech of All Time (Video)

When a young man, likely an intern, approached Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin near the Capitol basement ATM Tuesday afternoon asking the Illinois Democrat to sign a baseball, he faced an unexpected question from this reporter: Did he prefer wooden or aluminum bats?

“I like both. Wooden’s better. It never hurts your hands,” he said.

That was, of course, the correct answer to the question in the presence of Durbin, who just days ago celebrated the 25th anniversary of what HOH previously declared “unquestionably the greatest diatribe to ever grace the House floor.”

It was July 26, 1989, when Durbin said in a one-minute speech (in the House, of course, Durbin’s oratory was more limited by a clock): “I don’t want to hear about saving trees, any tree in America would gladly give its life for a day of glory at home plate.”

Durbin signed the young man’s baseball, though it was unclear how many in the basement scrum knew the story behind the prodding. But in the immortal words of former HOHer Meredith Shiner, this column knows for sure: “May we mark this day every year to remember what America is really all about, and that even though it’s unclear who Durbin was addressing with this little ditty, aluminum bats have remained out of professional baseball for decades.”

Here, here.

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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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

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

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