As Nationals Park prepares for the big league home opener on Thursday, the Capitol community is also preparing for this year's 55th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game, scheduled for June 23.
Democrats won their seventh-straight game over Republicans last year , 5-2, keeping a firm hold on the coveted Roll Call trophy. Last year's game also featured a surprise appearance by President Barack Obama, who worked the dugouts but brought along his own home-brewed beer for the Democrats. The game was founded in 1909 by former Pennsylvania Rep. John Tener, who was also a former professional baseball player. In 1914, the game interrupted legislative business on an appropriations bill regarding Civil War cotton damage. Speaker James Beauchamp "Champ" Clark sent the Sergeant at Arms to bring members back to the chamber.
The Washington Evening Star sponsored the game from 1946 to 1958. But after that year, Speaker Sam Rayburn ended the annual tradition because he thought it was too physical. That proved unpopular, and in 1962, Speaker John McCormack revived it with support from Roll Call.
The CQ Roll Call Taste of America competition , which runs throughout the congressional baseball practice season and allows members, staff and other boosters to vote for their favorite home-state foods, is also getting underway. Winners will be revealed at the June 23 game. Indiana's pork tenderloin took top prize last year.
The game is $10 a ticket and raises money for D.C.-area charities—The Washington Literacy Center, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.
Familiar faces for the Republicans include former presidential candidate Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, whose father, former Rep. Ron Paul is in the Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame; Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady.
Democrats include last year's MVPs: Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, and the only female on the field, California Rep. Linda T. Sánchez of California.
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