Ahead of the opening pitch in last year’s annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, Democratic manager Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.) had a vision. In it, retiring Rep. Gresham Barrett (S.C.), who was not expected to play, would come off the bench for one final at bat and win the game for the GOP.
It nearly happened.
With the Democrats up 4-2 after five and a half innings, Barrett belted a two-run single to right field that tied the game.
“I was thinking, ‘Son of a bitch. I just knew this guy was going to come back and do this to us,’” Doyle said.
But Barrett’s heroics would not be enough. With the score tied 4-4 after six innings, the Democrats’ offense exploded, giving them their second straight win in the series, 13-5.
The game was marked by a dozen errors, two-thirds of them by the Republican side.
Then-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) scored the go-ahead run when third baseman Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) mishandled a pickoff attempt by the catcher, Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.).
That opened the floodgates. By the time pitcher Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) retired the side in that inning, the Democrats were ahead by nine runs.
The GOP attempted to battle back in the bottom half of the last inning, loading the bases, but scored just one run before Rep. Connie Mack IV (Fla.) was thrown out at the plate and Rep. Sam Graves (Mo.) struck out to end the game.
Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and Shimkus both pitched complete games for their squads, but the Republican defense committed eight errors, while the Democrats made only four.
“This is a game about errors,” Doyle said. “You give people openings.”
The Republican shortstop, then-Sen. John Ensign (Nev.), led the team with four errors, while Republican Reps. Bill Shuster (Pa.), Kevin Brady (Texas) and Platts were charged with one apiece.
Then-Rep. Bart Stupak (Mich.) committed two errors, while Baca and then-Rep. Jim Marshall (Ga.) each had one for the Democrats.
Nevertheless, each side posted a few defensive gems. In the second inning, Shuster, the GOP’s right fielder, caught a long fly off the bat of Rep. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) and fired the ball back to first base to put out then-Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), who had broken for second.
In the bottom of the seventh, Weiner ran down a deep fly by Brady and made a catch that was replayed on ESPN.
Blake Whitney contributed to this report.