For 16 years, Rodney Davis would hear about his boss pitching at Nationals’ Stadium: Illinois Republican John Shimkus.
“I never went to a game. I don’t know why I never came out to go,” said Davis, who was elected in 2012. “So the first game I ever saw was the first one I played in — and we lost 22-0. It was brutal.”
Shimkus has been pitching in the Congressional Baseball Game for 20 years, while this is Davis’ forth year playing catcher. They both serve in the Illinois delegation.
As the projects director in Shimkus’ district office, Davis would get emails about how his boss was playing, never thinking he would be catching for him one day.
“There are members who have staff members follow them, but it’s hard to find where you still serve together as members of Congress, especially in the same delegation,” Shimkus said. “Not to get mushy because, you can tell, we have a lot of fun — but it’s really a blessing and it’s really cool.”
“I lived every year vicariously out in the district,” Davis said. “I would get updates of the score. I had no idea I would actually play with him in the game. You never think about being able to serve with your boss.”
But, the two teammates do have a lot of fun .
“We always had a great relationship. Now, I probably make fun of him a little bit more,” Davis said. “He’ll be the first one to yell at me, too, if I do something wrong. … Frankly, Shmikus is the first one to yell at everybody.”