After a tough loss last year, the women of Congress reclaimed the pink trophy Wednesday in the 6th Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game , beating the female journalist team, the Bad News Babes, 10-5.
The lawmakers and journalists faced off on a muggy evening at the Watkins Recreation Center to compete in the annual game, which benefits the Young Survival Coalition , a breast cancer charity.
Scores of Hill staffers, journalists and members of Congress came out to cheer for their favorite players, with many holding signs and donning campaign T-shirts to show their support. But the politics of the moment still managed to make an appearance on the field. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., stopped by the emcees’ tent with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., joking that she couldn’t vote for him in Thursday’s election for House majority leader .
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., were also spotted rooting for the members team, along with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
And Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., stole the microphone to wish his fellow New Yorker, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, good luck. When Klobuchar attempted to regain the mic, Schumer joked, “She gives me a run for my money when it comes to wanting the microphone.”
Yet politics ultimately took a backseat Wednesday night, as Democrats and Republicans banded together to take on the press corps.
After a strong start by both teams, the lawmakers’ bats exploded in the third inning, despite losing power hitter Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., who injured herself hustling towards second base. Shots into the outfield gave the lawmakers four runs, to bring the score to 5-1.
The Bad News Babes rallied at the top of the fourth to bring the score within one run, but they were never able to gain the lead.
The game ended with a last-ditch effort by the Babes to come back from a five-run deficit. But a line drive by team captain Brianna Keilar of CNN was caught by shortstop Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., for the final out, sealing the female lawmakers' victory.
Gillibrand was named most valuable player for the lawmakers; a clear choice considering her dominant offensive and defensive performances.
The MVP for the Bad News Babes was Roll Call’s Abby Livingston, who had a strong showing at third base, fielding balls that kept lawmakers from gaining even more runs, as well as a relief appearance on the mound.
But Livingston admitted the journalists’ offense was lacking this year. “I think that our bats were not alive, including mine,” said Livingston, adding, “And this was one of those sort of nights where one team just really wanted it. And when you have that kind of momentum and that kind of drive, it’s really hard to stop it.”
For first-time MVP Gillibrand, it was the presence of her friend and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that gave her team the boost it needed to win. Gillibrand and Wasserman Schultz accompanied Giffords as she threw out the first pitch Wednesday night.
“I think Gabby throwing out the first pitch was our bit of luck. And I just think it put the whole team in the right frame of mind to do our best,” said Gillibrand. “And if there’s any role model in the world for somebody who doesn’t give up, it’s Gabby Giffords. And I think she just inspires us by her presence.”
While the female members of Congress can bask in their hard-earned victory for the time being, Livingston noted that the performances of some of their new players could be a sign of better games to come for the Babes.
“Some of our hitters who had never played before showed up and they were the ones who got on base,” said Livingston. “They’ve been determined and they’re fierce. And, you know: Watch out, Congress, 'cause we’re all coming after you again.”
The lawmakers could also gain some heavy hitters next year, depending on what happens in the midterm elections.
So who knows what next year’s game will bring, but it is sure to bring together members from both sides of the aisle and the journalists who cover them.
And no matter what the outcome, there will still be joy in Mudville .
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