During the years Doyle, left, has been affiliated with the Congressional Baseball Game, he’s developed a tight bond with the GOP team manager, Barton. He hopes the Congressional Baseball Caucus can forge similar bonds.
During baseball season, Williams found “20 or 30 seconds of common ground” with members on the opposite side of the aisle when they paused in the halls to ask, “Hey, how’s your team doing?” or “Did you see that play last night?”
“It’s one of those areas that we do have common ground,” he said. “It’s not political.”
During the 19 years Doyle has been affiliated with the sporting tradition — 12 as a player, then seven as a manager — he’s developed a tight bond with the GOP team manager, Rep. Joe L. Barton of Texas. Both sit on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but it’s baseball that’s helped build what Doyle calls “a good relationship.”
“When you know somebody personally and know a little bit about them and their family, I think it leads to a little more civility,” Doyle said. “I think we could use a little more civility in the House, so I’m for anything that helps do that.”
When asked, Doyle can tick off a list of bipartisan bonds formed through the game — and the position each of those friends plays on the field.
Second baseman Kevin Brady of Texas, shortstop Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, and John Shimkus of Illinois, “who was their second baseman and now their pitcher recently.” Doyle also has lots of fun with fellow Pennsylvanian Bill Shuster, whom he can chide about the Democrats’ five-year winning streak.
The men behind the caucus don’t expect to do any heavy lifting during their monthly meetings, but “who knows,” Williams said. “We might get into a baseball caucus meeting and find out that we’ve got some common ground on an issue, and maybe be able to do something in that venue we couldn’t maybe do on the House floor.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.