Democratic players at the 55th Annual Congressional Baseball Game wore rainbow colored bracelets Thursday in honor of the 49 people murdered in Orlando last week, but there was no talk in the dugouts about politics — and no mention of the overnight sit-in that had threatened to derail the game.
Thunderstorms that had threatened throughout the day held out, with just a smattering of rain in the bottom of the sixth.
Only the crowd was feisty, with Republican fans chanting "G-O-P" and Democrats booing the umpire when he called out Louisiana Democrat Cedric L. Richmond – loved by fans and feared by the GOP . (Even GOP manager Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton has admitted that Richmond is the best congressman to ever play in the game).
Democrats' manager Mike Doyle – a former insurance company executive and steel mill worker who keeps a low profile in Washington despite a competitive streak on the field — had words with the umpire after the call, to no avail.
Some players had family members on hand. Rep. Bob Dold , R-Ill, had a daughter serving as a bat girl and Rep. Tim Ryan , D-Ill, had a son doing the same. Rep. Mike Bishop , R-Mich and Sen. Jeff Flake , R-Ariz, brought their sons. Staff and supporters of Rep. Barry Loudermilk , R-Ga., chanted his name.
The Democrats mustered a late rally, but ultimately lost 8-7.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi , D-Ca, and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer , D-MD, consoled their team, and the Democrats headed for the exits, with Joe Donnelly , D-In, pausing to thank a DC metropolitan police officer.
Republicans were jubilant.
"It feels a lot better than losing," said Joe Barton , R-Tex, as his son embraced him, yelling, "We won!"
Sen. Rand Paul , R-Ken, who returned to the Senate after a failed presidential bid in February, has played every Congressional game since he was elected in 2010. He was ready for a win. "It's about time," he said.