The trash-talking between members of Congress and the press started months ago over the fifth annual Congressional Women's Softball Game, and on June 26, they get to settle things once and for all — until the next day, when the trash-talking for the sixth annual game will start.
The game features females members of Congress and the press corps, and it raises money on behalf of the breast cancer charity the Young Survival Coalition. Anyone awake at 7 a.m. and near Watkins Recreation Center the past few weeks couldn't help but notice the intensity of practices on both sides. The altruism behind the game belies the competitive streak among the players, as detailed in a WUSA-9 story this week that featured Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., and CQ Roll Call's own Abby Livingston, captain of the Bad News Babes.
Livingston and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., are the chief antagonists, although an increasingly entertaining series of Twitter fights show how deeply this game is resonating, with members such as Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., touting the Miami Heat's victory in the NBA finals over the San Antonio Spurs, mocking Livingston's home state of Texas:
There have also been accusations of sports espionage, but we won't go there. Livingston told WUSA she preferred the term "coincidental power walking."
For the truly hard-core, you can participate in the Roll Call Fantasy Softball Challenge. It works like any of your familiar rotisserie leagues. Participants choose nine players from either team. The winner will get $150 to blow at 201 Bar, a Roll Call After Dark favorite establishment. Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, will likely be the challenge's version of Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels phenom. Beatty, a freshman, has worked out with the Ohio State University women's softball team, and Wasserman Schultz has bragged about other newcomers, such as Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D. and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
For anyone disappointed by the lopsidedness of the recent CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, when the Democrats drubbed the Republicans, 22-0, the softball game promises a more even matchup, as it has typically been a nail-biter to the very end. The tying run was at home plate for the last out of last year's game, which the press won, 13-10.
First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Watkins Recreation Center on Capitol Hill at 420 12th St. SE.