Diamond News and Notes

Posted July 18, 2008 at 5:55pm

Correction Appended

• A number of fine — and not so fine — defensive plays were turned in. Among the highlights: a diving stop and throw to first by the Republican second baseman, Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas), to end the top of the seventh and keep the Democrats’ lead at 10-8, and a fine running catch by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) down the left-field line in the fourth to rob Rep. Gresham Barrett (S.C.) of an RBI double.

• Among the lowlights: Rep. Zach Wamp (Tenn.), the Republican shortstop, dropped an easy liner by Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) and then committed a second error on the play by throwing wild to first; the Democrats’ first baseman, Rep. Bart Stupak (Mich.), dropped a chest-high throw that would have been an inning-ending double play in the second.

• Among the “a little of both”: The Democrats’ catcher, Rep. Christopher Murphy (Conn.), bobbled a pop-up right in front of home plate in the seventh inning, but an alert Rep. Joe Baca (Calif.), the team’s pitcher, grabbed the ball before it hit the ground to record the out.

• The House Democratic leadership again outpaced its GOP counterparts in team spirit, as both Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) showed up to cheer on their squad. “It was the best I’ve ever seen them play,” Pelosi said of the Democrats. Announcer/former Rep. Marty Russo (D-Ill.) kept fans apprised of Pelosi’s movements. Hoyer, asked why he wasn’t playing: “I have wisdom — I stay in my seat.”

• Both teams used pinch runners at will, but the night didn’t go so well for one of them. Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert (Texas) collided at home plate with Murphy while scoring in the second inning. He had to be helped off the field and did not return. “ESPN is looking for some highlight footage,” the Republican manager, Rep. Joe Barton (Texas), told Gohmert in the dugout. “I think you might have just made it.”

• While the GOP starters were almost exactly the same as last year, Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.) made a number of changes with his Democratic squad. Freshman Reps. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Bruce Braley (Iowa) earned starting spots, and Sánchez started at designated hitter. Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), who didn’t play last year, appeared in left field. Donnelly played center and went 2-for-3, though he fell down on the inside-the-park homer by Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.). One freshman Democrat who did not play was Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.), the former quarterback who has been plagued by injuries.

• Jake Schultz, young son of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), served as the Democrats’ batboy. “They played pretty good,” said Schultz, who sported a David Ortiz Red Sox jersey and tried to get all the Democrats to sign a baseball for him. Said the boy’s mother: “I thought I was going to throw up” during the last inning. “We’re all very competitive. This was intense.”

— Daniel Heim, Torey Van Oot, Casey Hynes and Melissa Attias

Correction: July 23, 2008

The article incorrectly identified the last name of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-Fla.) son. His name is Jake Schultz.