Much of the Democrat’s 16-run win Thursday night at the 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game can be attributed to pitcher Cedric L. Richmond. But the game’s most dominant player for the last several years isn’t sure how much longer he can dominate.
When asked if he can keep up his streak year after year, the Louisiana Democrat said, “Absolutely not.”
“I hope that if we have a Democratic wave [in November], we elect a pitcher, because I think I’m done with this stuff,” Richmond said after his team’s 21-5 win Thursday.
“You know, in the grand scheme of things, and not being flippant, I love this game, but I also love my son, who I want to grow up pitching to him and teaching him the game. So throwing 140 pitches every year just, at some point, is not as important as it was the year before,” he said.
“But look, we have a talented team, and what the last couple of innings showed me was I don’t have to overpower people, I can just put it over the plate and trust my team to play defense. And that’s what they did. So if I can do that, then I can pitch for a couple more years. But I’m not going to be able to overpower people much longer,” he said.
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Richmond attributed the win to his teammates and everything going their way.
“It was a good win. Everything went right. We got a bunch of breaks that we needed, so that’s why the score seemed so lopsided. But for the most part we did a good job,” he said.
Richmond was an asset not just on the mound but also at bat.
The Democratic fans at Nationals Park cheered the loudest when he scored after hitting a triple, and then raced home on an error before he could catch his breath.
Teammate Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan was feeling his pain.
“It was great, a lot of fun. Obviously, we did well, we won and we raised a lot of money. We’re all sore and old; I’m already four Advil in,” he said.
It was a tough loss for the Republicans, but many of them felt they got their win in the first inning. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was nearly killed at the Republican team’s practice the day before last year’s game, started at second base and threw out the Democrat’s leadoff hitter at first base on the first pitch of the game. The crowd and players on the field were awestruck.
“We have to give the divine intervention some credit here with that first ground ball to Steve … wonderful moment,” Minnesota GOP Rep. Jason Lewis said.
“The first play was a like God came down and said, ‘This is how this game should start,’” Ryan said.
It was a tough loss for Sen. Jeff Flake — the Arizona Republican is retiring this year after playing in 18 games, dating back to his years in the House.
“We got beaten like a borrowed mule tonight, but it’s all good fun,” Flake said. “We raised a lot of money and we got a couple of hits. Anytime you get a hit off Cedric Richmond you feel good.”
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Tennessee GOP Rep. Chuck Fleischmann was happy with how he played.
“It was a tough loss. I’m tired. I actually played well, but the team did not,” he said. “I think I stole a lot of bases, I think I scored three of our five runs. So, I go out and give it 100 percent. I just wish I’d be in a little bit earlier.”
“Dejected, very upset,” Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall deadpanned.
Lewis said he was “sore.”
“I haven’t been in the batting cage for about 35 years. Now I know why,” the Minnesota Republican said.
Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis said, “The Dems played well. We didn’t play well. I always have fun at this game. I just wish we played more than one time a year.”
There was a sea of red behind the Republicans’ dugout. Staffers for Scalise and Reps. Kevin Brady of Texas, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota and John Shimkus of Illinois, who are all roommates, wore red T-shirts that read “Four on the Field” on the back. On the front was an outline of their bosses’ states and names.
Former Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth watched from the Republicans’ side.
“These old boys can play a lot better than I thought they could,” Werth said. “It was entertaining, it was for a great cause.”
Both the Republican and Democratic women in the game were a huge hit.
When California Democratic Rep. Nanette Barragán went up to bat, the crowd went wild with standing ovations. She argued with the home plate umpire over catcher interference, and then a pitch later said she’d been hit by a pitch. Fans from both sides jeered the umpire. But her long at bat ended with Shimkus striking her out.
Despite the score, the Republican fans came back to life after a single by Rep. Mia Love of Utah. She also got a hand when she went into the game as a pinch runner.
Both Love and Barragán will be playing in next week’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game.
The Republicans also used Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick as a pinch runner in his Congressional Baseball Game debut.
“I’m tired,” Fitzpatrick said when asked how he felt after the game.
“We don’t see our colleagues in this kind of context very often,” he added.
Maria Mendez contributed to this report.