Heard on the Hill

Democratic domination continues in Congressional Baseball Game

Lawmakers take a break from border funding, debate buzz to compete on the field

Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado collides with Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois at home plate during the 58th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on Wednesday. Perlmutter scored on the play. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Ask any dad and he will tell you: Defense wins championships. But when Republicans ask themselves what went wrong Wednesday night, they might point to a sloppy defensive effort that resulted in four errors and their third straight loss to the Democrats.

The 14-7 win at the Congressional Baseball Game was the Democrats’ eighth in nine years, behind another complete game effort from MVP Cedric Richmond and solid hitting from the lineup.

The smell of buttered popcorn and sizzling polish sausage filled the thick summer air as lawmakers gathered for D.C.’s annual “friendly” bipartisan tradition, one that dates back to 1909. Republicans and their fans, including Vice President Mike Pence, occupied the first base side of Nationals Stadium, while Democrats took up the third base side.

The atmosphere was mostly congenial, with the exception of a Rand Paul plate appearance which drew a smattering of boos from the Democratic side, quickly followed by cheers when the Kentucky senator grounded out weakly.

In talking with Republicans before the game, it was clear their number one goal was stopping the buzzsaw that is Richmond. The Louisiana congressman has been a thorn in the GOP’s side, dominating on the mound and providing pop in the Democratic lineup.

But Richmond got off to a rocky start, giving up three runs on hits by Anthony Gonzalez and Greg Steube. Richmond would eventually settle down for four straight innings as the Democrats, including Richmond, provided plenty of run support. Democrats had a comfortable 7-3 lead by the third inning, before piling on some more hits, including an RBI double from Rookie of the Year Colin Allred that stretched the lead to 11-3 in the fifth.

That’s when Democrats pretty much put the game out of reach. It was all over, and the only thing left was the shouting, as my uncle would say.

Richmond actually appeared to be getting stronger as the game went along — that is, until Republicans scraped together a four-run, two-out rally that included a two-run double from Rodney Davis.

In the end it wasn’t enough, and soon after fans began filing out of the stadium. 

Once again, Nancy Pelosi got to congratulate her players on the field.

How do you solve a problem like Richmond? Republicans have yet to figure it out. But as every long-suffering sports fan knows, there’s always next year.

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