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Bill Shuster, Not Gonna Play Ball

His vital statistics were listed in the program for the 54th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. That’s his smiling mug featured in the deck of 2015 trading cards.  

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The announcers on June 11 even called his name during the player introductions.  

Yet Rep. Bill Shuster was nowhere to be found.  

Unless one happened to peek into the far corner of the PNC Diamond Club at the frustrated-looking gentleman bizarrely mumbling to himself. That’s where the Pennsylvania Republican — T-shirt, cargo shorts, sunglasses, face pressed up against the glass, peering longingly out onto the field — camped out for at least part of the evening,  

One political hack that wandered over to say hello was brushed off with a cautionary, “Not now.”  

When another colleague sidled up to see what was up, the somber pol seemed regretful.  

Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., watches the 53rd Congressional Baseball Game from the Republican team dugout in Nationals Park, June 25, 2014. The Democrats prevailed over the Republicans 15-6 in a rained shortened game. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Shuster watches the 53rd Congressional Baseball Game from the Republican dugout on June 25, 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

"The one time I skip a game ... and Obama shows up," he muttered, referring to the impromptu visit by POTUS to the annual summertime game, a first for a U.S. chief executive since Richard M. Nixon.  

HOH was preparing to swoop in for a third round of interrogatories when the GOP legacy suddenly planted his cellphone to his ear. Roughly five minutes later, and some nervous pacing around, Shuster raced out a side door and disappeared into the crowd of carefree baseball fans.  

Shuster’s office did not respond to requests for comment about why he sat out the game, but a GOP coach afterward said it was Shuster himself who made the call to sit out. As chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he had been so bogged down with legislative business and missed so many practices that the Pennsylvanian didn't think it proper he play.  

Related: Democrats With 7th Straight Congressional Baseball Game Obama Makes Surprise Appearance at Congressional Baseball Game See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.