Heard on the Hill: Play Ball Like a Girl

Posted June 16, 2009 at 6:39pm

There’s a female Speaker, a female secretary of State and a potential new female Supreme Court justice — but somehow, the gals of Congress just don’t show up to play baseball.

[IMGCAP(1)]Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is the only female Member expected to suit up for the 48th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game tonight at Nationals Park. Ros-Lehtinen is a veteran on the GOP squad, and she plans to sport a Florida Marlins uniform, as she had done in past seasons. “And every year, I do a fabulous job of warming up the bench,— she joked to HOH.

Motherly duties will keep the woman who is the most notable female player in Congressional baseball history off the field tonight. Rep. Linda Sánchez has played in half a dozen games — sporting the number “IX— in honor of Title IX — and earned kudos for making it on base several times.

But this year, the California Democrat will be watching from the stands with her husband, Jim Sullivan, and their infant son, Joaquin. “The entire time I’ve played hardball with the boys, I have tried to encourage and recruit other women to come out and play. It really is my favorite time of the year, and such a great experience,— she told HOH. “Unfortunately, I’ve had no takers.—

So that leaves Ros-Lehtinen standing alone to represent the women of Congress — and she didn’t appear confident she’d make it onto the field this time around, either. “I’m proud to be representing my gender this year, but the only way I’ll get to play is if the GOP team is 30 runs ahead,— she said.

Sánchez did have some advice for Ros-Lehtinen. “There’s no crying in the Congressional Baseball Game … unless you are Coach [Mike] Doyle and the Democrats have lost again,— she joked.

He’s Got the Look. Usually it’s interns who get called out for dressing too casually — not Senators with more than 20 years of tenure. That’s why Sen. James Inhofe raised eyebrows when he showed up to work on Tuesday morning in an outfit more suited to the golf course than the hallowed halls of the Senate.

[IMGCAP(2)]The Oklahoma Republican went in to vote wearing a royal blue polo shirt, khaki pants with a brown belt and a casual pair of loafers, a far cry from the normal Senatorial suit-and-tie look.

But Inhofe wasn’t trying to fit in among the khaki-wearing intern crowd — he was just running late.

Spokesman Jared Young tells HOH that Inhofe landed at Andrews Air Force Base earlier in the morning, where he had returned from a Congressional delegation trip to Europe. Since the group was behind schedule, the Senator had no time to change before the morning’s vote. Plus, he had misplaced his coat, which had his tie in it.

In a dilemma, Inhofe decided to vote in the Cloakroom before changing into his standard Senate attire, Young said.

And for the record, he (unlike some interns HOH has spotted) wasn’t wearing flip-flops.

Schakowsky’s Breaking News. Guantánamo Bay isn’t just a tricky political topic for Members of Congress to navigate — it’s also simply tricky to navigate. Just ask Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who broke her ankle in two places while touring the detention facility on Monday.

The Illinois Democrat tripped while touring the complex, spokesman Trevor Kinkaid tells HOH, but didn’t realize how serious her injury was until she was on a plane home later in the day. She got X-rays upon her arrival in Washington and was spotted using a wheelchair during votes on Monday night.

She’s now able to ditch the wheels and is sporting a fashionable cast-and-crutches ensemble. “It really hasn’t slowed her down,— Kincaid says. “It’s frustrating more than anything.—

Lucky Day. Is it a coincidence that Roll Call managing editor extraordinaire David Meyers and his wife, Jennifer, welcomed their second child on Tuesday, which also happens to be the birthday of Roll Call itself?

While our newspaper is a ripe old 54, little Sophie Rose Meyers is brand new, and happy and healthy, too, according to her dad. Sophie’s big sister, Samantha, is thrilled to have a new playmate, “even if she’s disappointed we didn’t name her Sally,— the proud pop says. “We’re off to a good start so far,— he reports.

A hearty Roll Call congratulations to the family (and, yes, Dave, while you’re away, we will still make our deadlines)!

Overheard on the Hill. “I grew up in Kentucky, where there wasn’t that much expected of us, except to clean up.—

— Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), explaining why she didn’t participate in sports in school, while promoting legislation seeking to improve athletic opportunities for female high school students. Olympic gold medal gymnast Dominique Dawes joined Slaughter at the event.

Jessica Brady contributed to this report.

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