Heard on the Hill

There’s no crying in baseball … or congressional softball

Congressional women’s game pays homage to ‘A League of Their Own’

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., warms up for the congressional softball game at the Watkins Recreation Center in Washington on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

It was a blast from the past at Wednesday’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game as the teams paid all kinds of tribute to one of America’s classic sports comedies, “A League of Their Own.”

Players sported red hats with the letter “R” in a nod to the Rockford Peaches, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League team started during World War II. A fictionalized version of the Peaches featured in the 1992 movie starring Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Geena Davis and Tom Hanks. Director Penny Marshall, also famous for her role in the sitcom “Laverne and Shirley,” died late last year.

Marshall’s daughter, Tracy Reiner, who appeared in the film as left-fielder Betty “Spaghetti” Horn, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the softball game, which pits members of the media — known as the Bad News Babes — against female lawmakers in support of breast cancer awareness.

Joining Reiner for the pitch was Virginia Manina, former first baseman for the Rockford Peaches in the 1950s.

Actress and breast cancer survivor Megan Cavanagh (or “Marla Hooch,” as many still know her) sang the national anthem, after throwing out the first pitch at last year’s event.

The Library of Congress selected “A League of Their Own” for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 2012. “Marshall and her company delivered an enjoyably nostalgic film about women’s choices and solidarity during World War II that was both funny and feminist,” according to a release.

The congressional softball game may have lost standout Republican player Mia Love to a re-election defeat, but the lawmakers’ team also got a boost from the historic wave of female Democrats that came to Congress this year. Rookies Angie Craig, Sharice Davids, Deb Haaland, Katie Hill, Chrissy Houlahan, Kim Schrier and Donna Shalala joined the roster.

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