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One Great Player Could Mean Years of Baseball Victories

Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call
California Democrats, including Reps. Joe Baca and Linda Sánchez and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, claimed victory Thursday night at Nationals Park.

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Remember all that talk in 2009 about Red Sox World Series hero Curt Schilling running for the Senate in Massachusetts? For the GOP baseball team, it might be time to revisit that idea.

The Republicans are going to need some help if they hope to reclaim the coveted Roll Call trophy during what appears certain to become known in Congressional baseball lore as the Cedric Richmond era.

GOP manager Rep. Joe Barton (Texas) went so far as to suggest that he could help Richmond with a career change.

“I do want to point out to Mr. Richmond that the Congressional salary is $175,000,” Barton said on the House floor the day after the game. “The major league minimum salary is $350,000, and I know the owner of the [Houston] Astros and the Texas Rangers.”

Richmond, who played for Morehouse College in the 1990s, pitched a complete game one-hitter, struck out 13 and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning in an easy 8-2 Democratic victory Thursday night at the 50th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, which benefits local charities.

Richmond also went 4 for 4 in batting, making him a two-way threat in the mold of, dare we say it, Babe Ruth.

“Everything he does looks easy,” Democratic manager Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.) said.

After Richmond blew away the Republicans in the first inning with a pair of strikeouts and a weak ground ball, the feeling at Nationals Park began to take on the air of that evening in June 2010 when Stephen Strasburg whiffed 14 Pittsburgh Pirates in his Major League Baseball debut.

Heads were turning toward the field and away from conversations. Several “whoas” were heard. By the fourth inning, with the no-hitter intact, people long associated with the game were trying to remember whether they’d witnessed anything like it before.

“He’s throwing harder than we’ve ever seen,” Doyle said.

Richmond’s performance was not a complete surprise, although perhaps the magnitude of the dominance was.

Before the game, Rep. Jeff Flake (Ariz.), the Republicans’ third baseman, said that based on what his teammates had heard from people who saw Richmond at Democratic practices, “we’re in trouble.”

Flake proved to be a prophet.

One measure of the Republicans’ futility was the celebratory reaction to their one hit of the night, a bloop single to right by Rep. Steve Pearce (N.M.). He tweeted on the topic multiple times and posted a video of the moment.

Republicans had hoped to turn their 2010 electoral successes into victory on the diamond, and the team sported an expanded roster that filled the dugout to overflowing, like a September call-up run amok.

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