Lawmakers shed their business attire and left partisan issues at the Capitol for a few hours on Thursday night as they took to the field for the annual Congressional Baseball Game.
Democrats defeated Republicans 21-5 in seven innings under clear skies at the 57th annual charity game at Nationals Park in southeast Washington, D.C.
Majority Whip Rep. Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse GOP campaign arm raises .8 million in third quarter The Hill's 12:30 Report - The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations - 90-year-old 'Star Trek' actor describes space visit GOP leader's remarks on Fox underscore Trump's power MORE (R-La.) received a standing ovation when he took to the field and set up at second base. The crowd went wild when the first ground ball of the game went straight to him and he took the Democratic player out.
The No. 3 House Republican returned to the field one year after the shooting at a congressional GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., left him and three others wounded. Scalise suffered a shattered hip, pelvis and left femur, and severe damage to his internal organs during the shooting.
Members of the Capitol Police who were there for last year’s shooting also received applause Thursday night during the ceremonial first pitch.
"This year is really special with Steve Scalise coming back. Everybody's healed up. Just a very positive message," said Rep. Chuck FleischmannCharles (Chuck) Joseph FleischmannHouse Democrats include immigration priorities as they forward DHS funding bill The Memo: Biden feels the heat from all sides on immigration Biden official defends Trump-era immigration policy MORE (R-Tenn.), who is in his eighth year playing in the charity game. "I love this game. I look forward to it."
Scalise has undergone nine different surgeries and months of physical therapy since the June 2017 shooting. After leaving the hospital, he used a motorized scooter to get around the Capitol, before moving to a pair of crutches and then a single crutch.
"It's been a tumultuous ride, the last year," Scalise told Fox News in an interview earlier this week. "Being able to walk out onto that field again Thursday night with my uniform is going to be a special, special moment."
Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) told The Hill that lawmakers use the annual game to develop bonds with one another.
“We try not to bring the issues into this game, because it’s more about building relationships and some camaraderie so that tomorrow I can go talk to one of my Republican colleagues about the family separation issue or about a different issue and say, 'Look, I really need to talk to you about a serious issue,'" she said.
Some members looked at the game as a way to show off their years of experience going back to their youth.
“If I was better at baseball, I probably wouldn’t be a congressman,” quipped Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellGOP ekes out win in return of Congressional Baseball Game Greene heckles Democrats and they fire back on Capitol steps Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod MORE (D-Calif.).
Barragán is also a former player. In high school, she petitioned her principal to let her play baseball since at the time the team was all boys. Now, she wants to bring more female players into the congressional games.
“The other thing we can do is we can elect more young ladies who play baseball,” Barragán said. “As a matter of fact, when I talk to candidates one of the first things I say is, ‘Do you play baseball?’”
Legislators did not have to put on a uniform to support their teams this year.
An account for retiring Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchLobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage Drug prices are declining amid inflation fears MORE, 84, tweeted a picture of the Utah Republican in a sweater poking fun at not being in Thursday's game.
“Senator Hatch regrets not being able to participate in the #CongressionalBaseballGame. While he enjoys sport, he runs too fast, hits too hard, and throws too well and it simply wasn’t fair to the other athletes," the tweet said.
Some attendees showed up to Thursday's game donning T-shirts and other swag advocating for young immigrants as Congress weighs taking action next week to offer protections for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“We want a future with DREAMERS! #WhatAreWeWaitingFor #CongressionalBaseballGame,” read one tweet from the LIBRE Initiative, the Hispanic arm of the network financed by the billionaire conservative Koch brothers.
Many other fans wore shirts that showed support for the current administration with “Make America Great Again” gear or advocated for their bosses’ reelection in the upcoming midterm elections.
Prominent lawmakers on the roster Thursday night included Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDemocrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations McConnell vows GOP won't help raise debt ceiling in December after Schumer 'tantrum' MORE (R-Ky.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE (R-Ariz.) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyExpats plead with US to deliver COVID-19 vaccines Growing number of Democrats endorse abolishing debt limit altogether Senate approves short-term debt ceiling increase MORE (D-Conn.) as well as Reps. Mia LoveLudmya (Mia) Love'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements Black Republican advocates his case for CBC membership Black women look to build upon gains in coming elections MORE (R-Utah), Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanTim Ryan's campaign raises .5 million in third quarter Internal poll shows Mandel leading crowded Ohio Senate GOP primary Tim Ryan's Senate campaign staff unionizes MORE (D-Ohio), among others.