To our readers,
Partisan rancor reached new levels during the past election season and has persisted through political tussles over policy.
Behind the polarized battles are real people who come from a variety of backgrounds and hometowns. And, each year, a group of those lawmakers pause the debates and come together for one night to participate in a favorite American pastime — baseball.
In the weeks leading up to the Congressional Baseball Game, busy folks from both parties prioritized early-morning practices. On Wednesday, one of those sessions ended in bloodshed.
The tragedy brought out the best among the Republican lawmakers at a practice field in Virginia. It brought out the best among their Democratic colleagues who expressed concern and solidarity.
Texas Republican Joe L. Barton expressed it well: “We’re united, not as Republicans and Democrats, but as United States representatives.”
Now, we join people across the country in hoping for the speedy recovery of those injured.
The game will go on. In a complex — and often scary — time, perhaps something as simple as baseball will provide relief and help to build bridges.
The History of the Congressional Baseball Game, 108 Years In
At Roll Call, our connection to the Congressional Baseball Game goes back more than half a century. In the very first edition of Roll Call, on June 16, 1955, we wrote a short item on the game that dates back to 1909:
“We’ve all done a lot of kidding about the Congressional Baseball game. But while we’re enjoying our laughs, let’s not lose sight of the splendid and humane purpose of the annual tilt.”
The contest later fell out of favor and went on hiatus. In 1962, Roll Call founder Sid Yudain joined with Speaker John McCormack to revive it, and we’ve been part of the annual tradition ever since.
This year, more than half a million dollars is expected to be donated to the following charities: Washington Literacy Council, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, in connection with the game.
The alignment of bipartisan bonhomie and charitable endeavors makes us proud, as the original authority on Capitol Hill, to support this Washington tradition — perhaps even more so this year.
The editors of Roll Call