Staffers Playing Softball Together Is a Decades-Old Tradition

The leagues have always been all-inclusive

Alysson Vogt of Rep. David Scott’s office bats during softball team practice on the National Mall in 2009. (CQ Roll Call file photo)
Alysson Vogt of Rep. David Scott’s office bats during softball team practice on the National Mall in 2009. (CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted June 15, 2018 at 5:00am

Senate and House softball leagues are beloved traditions that have held strong despite partisan battles in the halls of Congress, field disputes and triple-digit summer heat.

The Senate league was founded first, and while the date of the first official game is unknown, the league’s trophy lists winners dating back to 1980. 

Once the House formed its own league in 2006, the two began playing their annual King of the Hill game, in which the champions of each chamber battle for the title of the best team on Capitol Hill.

Administration officials and those from K Street and the judiciary world, among others, are all welcome to play in the leagues. It has become as much of an alum network as one for current staffers.

Teams may have an all-inclusive mindset, but that’s not to say every game ends with handshakes.

In 1992, Heard on the Hill covered a contentious game between the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice. It got so heated that when HOH asked the FEC if they still play this game in 2015, a spokeswoman responded that they do not play any DOJ-affiliated teams.

The “shoving match” that occurred during the game 25 years ago was caused by “jurisdictional issues … such as whether or not a team’s pitcher and catcher had to be of different genders,” HOH reported.

The game was played near the Jefferson Memorial.

“In the game’s final play, an FEC staffer attempted to score the go-ahead run as the Justice pitcher was covering the plate. They bumped into each other, and soon players from both teams were in on the action,” the article read.

While the DOJ thought the game was never completed because it didn’t get a final at-bat, the FEC said it won the game, 11-10.

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