The annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity at Nationals Park will take place on Wednesday, June 26 at 7:05 p.m. This tradition began in 1909 and has endured through 110 years.
Despite being put aside during times of American turmoil, such as The Great Depression and World War II, the legacy and camaraderie of the game is still prevalent to this very day. The tradition brings back quality memories and laughs to some of Congress’ longest-serving members.
“I do hold the record for most stolen bases with seven, thanks to their substitution rule,” said Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06). “However, I started feeling really fast with the idea that I could steal home. A bad idea and I was out by a mile.”
Upton is the fourth-longest-serving Republican in the House of Representatives.
While the game has long been a great memory for nearly every member of Congress, June 14, 2017 was a day that changed congressional baseball history.
On that day, then-House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01) and three others were shot during the Republican team’s practice. The only fatal shots fired were to the gunman himself.
The shooting resulted in a massive uptick of interest in the Congressional Baseball Game. In 2017, ticket sales and online donations exceeded $1 million and organizers said nearly 25,000 people attended the game. C-SPAN also broadcast the game.
The proceeds from ticket sales go to charity — no surprise, given the name — but after the 2017 shooting a new charity was added to the list. The official list of charities for 2019 include: The Washington Literacy Center, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, and now the United States Capitol Memorial Fund.
The Congressional Baseball Game website says it added the United States Capitol Memorial Fund in gratitude to the brave officers at the Republican practice shooting. With what we assume will be tighter security, the Republicans and Democrats seem ready to take their rivalry to the field.
The record of victories during the Trump administration has been 2-1 in favor of the Democrats. The Republicans won in 2016, but the Democrats took steady leads in the 2017 and 2018 games.
The 2019 roster can be found here. I can save you the trip and let you know that Scalise has returned to the game.
My favorite tradition, and what I’m looking forward to seeing the most, is which jerseys each member of Congress decides to wear. Traditionally, the Republican and Democrat teams wore jerseys that said “Republican” and “Democrat.” Representatives now sport college baseball jerseys or other team apparel from their district or state.
This tradition is my favorite, because I think it’s a great reminder to be geared up and playing a game with a purpose — representing your hometown. While many in Congress tend to be caught up in the politics of Washington DC and may lose sight of their roots in their districts, I think a simple tradition like this one reminds congressional members who they are really playing the game of politics for — the American people.
The Democrats beat The Republicans 15-7.