Republicans and Democrats joined in a spirited, friendly rivalry at their annual congressional baseball game, many fresh from the penetrating horror of the ball field shooting rampage a day earlier and all playing in honor of their grievously wounded colleague.
The game at Nationals Park on Thursday evening carried on a century-old bipartisan ritual, this one tinged with worry about Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise and the players’ determination to answer the attack by coming together in sport. Democrats won in an 11-2 blowout.
In a final flourish of bipartisan camaraderie for the night, Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, his team’s manager, accepted the trophy, then gave it to his GOP counterpart, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, to put in Scalise’s office on behalf of the Democrats. After accepting it gracefully, Barton cracked, “Next year we won’t be so nice.”
A record 24,959 people attended the game, and they gave a huge ovation when Special Agent David Bailey, one of the Capitol Police officers injured in the attack on Republicans at their ball practice in Virginia, threw out the first pitch. “One family,” proclaimed a sign in the crowd. The announcer’s mention of Scalise, the House majority whip, who was critically injured in the attack Wednesday, brought the masses to their feet.
Scalise remained listed in critical condition Thursday night after multiple surgeries, though word came from the hospital during the game that he had improved. (AP)
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