Heard on the Hill

It’s Not Personal, It’s Baseball

Republicans and Democrats take the field Thursday for the annual Congressional Baseball Game

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy, left, leads the Republican and Democratic teams in a moment of prayer before the start of last year’s Congressional Baseball Game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s time to play ball.

The 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, pitting Republican lawmakers against the Democrats, starts at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Nationals Park.

The parties have split their last two meetings. The Democrats crushed the Republicans, 11-2, in last year’s emotional game the day after the shooting at the GOP practice.

The year before, the Republicans won 8-7, breaking the Democrats’ seven-game winning streak.

The Democrats’ coach, Rep. Mike Doyle, is optimistic his team can start a new streak.

“We pretty much have the same team we had last year,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker said at practice last week. “The key is hitting the baseball. If you’re putting the ball in play a lot, we’ve got a better chance to win. I’m always more concerned about how we’re hitting the ball and how we’re doing very basic things.”

Watch: The History of the Congressional Baseball Game

[See who is new to the teams and who is playing their last game]

The game is a bittersweet one for retiring Rep. Joe L. Barton — his 32nd as either player, coach or manager. He’s the general manager for Team GOP this year, while fellow Texas Rep. Roger Williams is field manager. Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin is coaching third base. 

“I think the Democrats are still the favorites because they have such a good pitcher in Cedric Richmond. We’ve got some new players — Jodey Arrington, Warren Davidson and Mia Love —  and we’ve got a good attitude,” Barton said. “And Steve Scalise is back. He’s going to be our starter at second base, and I think that’s going to give us a little motivation to back him up.”

[Scalise Warmly Received at Democrats’ Baseball Practice]

Nearly 25,000 tickets were sold at last year’s game, which raised more than $1.5 million for charities including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, the Washington Literacy Center and the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.

Here are rosters for Thursday’s game:

Democrats

Republicans

Watch: Richmond Talks Trash Ahead of Congressional Baseball Game

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.