GOP wins congressional baseball game, ending 7-year losing streak

Greg Nash

With Republicans down to their final out, Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) hit a walk-off single to score the winning run of the Congressional Baseball Game.

The GOP’s win Thursday night at Nationals Park was their first in the annual game since 2008.

{mosads}It was one of the wildest games in recent memories, with late rallies by both sides and a series of close plays at home plate.

“It was a true team effort,” Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the longtime GOP baseball team manager, said as he accepted the Roll Call trophy.

Three years after being blown out 22-0, the Republicans showed marked improvement throughout the 55th edition of the game.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), the longtime star pitcher for the Dems, was shaky Thursday, allowing six runs in six-plus innings.

Richmond entered this year’s game with a 5-0 record and 45 strikeouts in 27 innings.

“We’ve got a good team. We don’t have a Cedric Richmond but we’ve got some quality guys, they’ve got a great attitude,” Barton said before the game.

“If we … [don’t] make quite as many errors as we have been, and they make one or two, I think it could be our year,” he told The Hill. “It should be a fun, close game.”

Each side finished with three errors, but it was the Republicans’ mishaps that almost lost the game. Leading 6-1 in the sixth inning, the GOP coughed up the advantage when Dems scored six runs with well-placed hits and errors by the Republican infield.

But the GOP battled back in their last turn at bat. After a single by Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), the Democrats’ manager, removed Richmond as pitcher, opting to bring in Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.).

The raucous crowd of Republican supporters taunted Murphy with chants of “G-O-P!” and “MAR-CO RUB-IO!” Murphy will be challenging Rubio for a Senate seat in the fall if he wins the Democratic primary there, and the taunt seemed to rattle him as he gave up the tying and winning runs.

Earlier, Democratic supporters tried to rally their team with cheers, chanting “FIL-A-BUSTER!” when Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was batting. Murphy, who played catcher for the Dems, drew widespread attention for his long filibuster over gun regulations last week.

Despite entering the game with a seven-game winning streak, Democrats did not trash-talk before the first pitch, though they expressed quiet confidence.

“We’re going to play hard,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who had two hits and an RBI.

Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) thought the Democrats would win.

“Yeah, as long as Cedric [Richmond] shows up,” he said before the game.

The game was a welcome relief after a chaotic week in the Capitol. House Democrats staged a sit-in on the floor of the chamber on Wednesday that lasted 25 hours and were joined at various points by some members of the Senate.  

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) abruptly adjourned the House a day early on Thursday morning, but not before managing to get a vote for Zika funding passed in the early hours.

Besides the thrill of competition, the Congressional baseball game also raised funds for three charities in the D.C. area: The Washington Literary Council, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation. The game’s organizers are anticipating Thursday’s game to generate $500,000.

Several lawmakers gathered at the Washington Nationals stadium for the annual event. Some donned their respective red and blue. Democratic lawmakers wore rainbow wristbands to honor the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting. 

Many lawmakers and supporters in the crowd took to social media to share their excitement before and during the game. 

Updated at 7:21 a.m.

Paulina Firozi contributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video