Heard on the Hill

Dugout Dish: Why You Play

Donnelly, Flake, Murphy and Brady share why they get up for practice

This year's Congressional Baseball Game is scheduled for June 23 at Nationals Park. Between now and game time, CQ Roll Call talks to members of Congress about why they play, what they expect this year and some of their favorite stories from games past. —  

Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, first baseman, and Christopher S. Murphy  of Connecticut, catcher, are going for their 8th win in a row  this year.   

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, centerfield, and Rep. Kevin Brady  of Texas, second baseman, are working to break their team’s losing streak.    

[ Scouting Report From the Congressional Baseball Game Coaches ]  

Throughout the spring, members have been getting up for practice before going about their full days of legislating. We asked them why.  

Coach Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, talks with Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly during a Democratic congressional baseball practice in 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Coach Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, talks with Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly during a Democratic congressional baseball practice in 2013. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Sen. Joe Donnelly

"It’s the camaraderie, that’s the best part of this whole game. Number one, we can help some of the charities and kids around D.C. but the other great part is the friendships. Because these are all my friends. These are not Democrats or Republicans, these are my buddies. And these are my buddies who we get to play together and then try and do good things for the country. It’s a hard deal to beat."  

From left, Illinois Rep. Robert J. Dold, and Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky attend Republican baseball practice in 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
From left, Illinois Rep. Robert J. Dold, and Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky attend Republican baseball practice in 2015. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Sen. Jeff Flake

"It is the camaraderie. You get out there with 30 guys and, I mean there’s nothing better. And the game itself — it’s Republicans against Democrats but we all get together right afterwards and it’s just a blast."  

Democrats' catcher Sen. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut applies a late tag to Republican Rep. Adam Putnam of Florida at home plate during the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Stadium in 2008. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Democrats' catcher Sen. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut applies a late tag to Republican Rep. Adam Putnam of Florida at home plate during the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Stadium in 2008. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy

"I remember, you show up to the House of Representatives and you have 435 people, it’s dizzying. I remember that my first year, kind of, was transformed by baseball practice.  

That I, all of a sudden had a group of Republicans and Democrats that I could count as real friends. And I don’t know that I would have been able to make those relationships another way, that quickly, had I not played baseball that first year in the House of Representatives.  

So it was really meaningful for me when I first did. And the guys and the women on the team frankly are still amongst some of my closest friends.  

Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas takes a picture of the crowd during the 53rd Congressional Baseball Game in Nationals Park in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas takes a picture of the crowd during the 53rd Congressional Baseball Game in Nationals Park in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 

Rep. Kevin Brady

"Baseball is the greatest game ever and to be able to share it up here, be able to time out from all these other stuff. Get up at 5:45 or 6 in the morning to practice with buddies.  

In the cold and the rain, you got your baseball gloves and your cleats and you’re running around. And then, to have these friends who share the same feeling about baseball. It is really about the friendship, it’s what’s the best part of this game."  

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