In a little more than six weeks, Republicans and Democrats will lace up their cleats to compete in the 53 rd Annual Congressional Baseball Game. Both teams are gearing up for another fierce competition. The Democrats and Republicans both held practices Wednesday morning and will continue to practice every morning that Congress is in session until the game on June 25.
Democrats are looking to score their sixth straight win following their victory over the Republicans last year with an unprecedented score of 22-0.
“The pressure’s on us to perform the way we did last year,” said team manager Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa. Doyle said the Democratic team is working to hone its skills in time for the game.
“We’ve got a long way to go to match last year’s performance,” he said, noting that Wednesday was the team’s first complete practice, as inclement weather at the end of April limited the team’s first two practices.
Republicans are hoping to redeem themselves after last year’s tough loss.
“I know we’re better than that," said Republican manager Rep. Joe L. Barton of Texas.
Barton said the team is not discouraged by last year's loss and will focus on improving its fielding this year. "We've got a lot of enthusiasm and a real positive attitude," he said.
After their first practice, the Republican roster is still in flux. However, even though the lineup is not set yet, one Republican senator is displaying his dedication to the team both on and off the field.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., showed up to the conservative Leadership Institute breakfast Wednesday morning in his practice baseball uniform . Paul gave a speech in a baseball shirt with “Republicans” across his chest, because the event was immediately following the team’s practice.
“We had practice this morning!” Paul tweeted. “Speaking of the baseball game, I am advocating Term Limits for Democrat pitchers.”
Paul’s tweet was a nod to Democratic star Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, who pitched seven shutout innings last year. The Louisiana lawmaker returns to the Democratic team once again, along with most of last year’s roster.
However, Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, will sit out this year due to an injury (not to mention the fact that he is caught up in a competitive race for the Senate .)
Democrats are anticipating a tough challenge from Republicans, despite last year’s blowout.
“These guys are going to be gunning for us,” said Doyle, noting that members of Congress have a particular distaste for failure.
“You don’t get to this place liking to lose,” said the Pennsylvania Democrat. “It’s no different when they get on the baseball field.”
Along with some healthy partisan competition, the annual game also raises funds for local charities. "The big winners are going to be the charities," said Barton.
Proceeds will once again go to the Washington Literacy Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.