Heard on the Hill: Play Ball

Posted April 10, 2009 at 5:46pm

House and Senate staffers trapped at their desks while their friends trot off to Nationals Park for the home opener are in for a little consolation. They can at least take a break from C-SPAN and watch their beloved home team from their offices, thanks to the recent addition of MASN, the network that exclusively carries the Nats, to the cable system available in the Capitol complex.

[IMGCAP(1)]MASN and MASN2, the overflow channel used when the Nats and the Baltimore Orioles are playing at the same time, can be found on channels 53 and 54, respectively, in the 26 buildings hooked up to the Capitol cable system.

Which might just help out all 15 or so of those poor desk-bound staffers who aren’t able to sneak away for this afternoon’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Stock up on a supply of Cracker Jack and overpriced beer, and it will feel as if you’re right there … well, almost.

Burris’ Blockbuster Moment. Forget former President Ronald Reagan or California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) — there’s another political bigwig who found fame on the silver screen.

Well, sort of.

Before he stole America’s hearts as the quirky junior Senator from Illinois, Democrat Roland Burris made an uncredited cameo appearance in the 1993 action classic “The Fugitive.—

Burris’ big scene is about halfway into the film, as U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (played by Tommy Lee Jones) chases prison escapee Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) through downtown Chicago during the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Filmmakers shot the scene during the actual parade, and then-Illinois Attorney General Burris just happened to be walking in the annual event.

In his big-screen moment, Burris is decked out in a black cap, black coat and green sash, and bagpipes and drums blare in the background. He doesn’t speak, but he is seen waving and smiling to the crowd.

Burris’ newfound national prominence prompted a sharp-eyed HOH tipster to locate the newest Senator in the chaotic scene.

Fittingly, the Web site IMDB credits Burris as “smiling man.—

Gregg Pumping Iron. Sen. Judd Gregg is an ironman. Or at least one astute HOH reader thinks so. Inspired by the item in HOH about how Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) is convinced that his colleague Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) looks like rock legend James Taylor, an HOH reader sent in his own “separated at birth— idea: Gregg and actor Jeremy Irons.

We can see a resemblance between the “Lolita— actor and the New Hampshire Republican — a wiry frame, maybe a similarity in the jaw line.

What do you think? Do you have a sneaking suspicion that another Member of Congress might have been separated from his or her famous twin? E-mail us at hoh@roll call.com with your suggestions.

Stop on the Scandal Tour. Ah, the sights the tourists flock to Washington to see: cherry blossoms, the Lincoln Memorial and … scandal-plagued Senators.

In a tale sure to be repeated in a few “how I spent my spring vacation— stories back home, a group of tourists were walking by the courthouse where former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) was set to appear last week. Seeing the gaggle of photographers poised to snap a picture, the curious visitors asked one of the lensmen who they were there to shoot. Told that the quarry was “Sen. Ted Stevens,— the tourist looked perplexed. One of the photographers overheard the sightseers conversing among themselves, apparently unsure who the former Senator was.

“Yeah, he wasn’t the one from the bathroom,— one of the tourists was overheard saying.

Dog Bites Man. The Department of Shameless Promotion is apparently working overtime. Health care companies Merck and Merial seized on reports that the first family will soon be getting its long-awaited first dog to ship out copies of the book “The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health— to political reporters.

The companies also proposed an animal behaviorist for reporters to interview for stories on the Obamas’ dog-to-be. The vet will serve as “a go-to expert to talk to you and your colleagues about the important steps to consider in preparing for the new puppy’s arrival,— a press release included with the book cheerfully suggests.

But the companies might have gotten off on the wrong paw by insulting the very reporters they are trying to solicit. An enclosed tip sheet for dealing with new dogs lists an unusual instruction: “Keep the dog away from the media,— it reads. “We all remember when Barney had a run-in with a roving reporter.— (That refers to the incident in which the Bush family dog was caught on camera biting Reuters reporter John Decker).

Talk about hanging with a ruff crowd …

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