Heard on the Hill

Congressional Baseball Players Were Running on Empty

Republicans and Democrats got minimal sleep before the game after House floor drama over guns

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., center, surrounded by Democratic teammates on the pitcher's mound. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

After casting a vote on the House floor at 2:30 in the morning, lawmakers had to suit up and play ball.  

Democrats staged a daylong sit-in on the House floor to push for congressional action to combat gun violence on Wednesday, which led to the late-night votes. Several hours after Democrats left the floor Thursday afternoon, they suffered a disappointing 8-7 loss to Republicans in the 55th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game .  

So was sleep deprivation a factor? Democrats exiting the field said it might have been, but it wasn't the only reason they lost.  

[Republicans Turn Back Democrats in Thriller, 8-7] Most members of the team were at the protest at some point. The Democrats' coaching staff, Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, Bill Pascrell of New Jersey and John Larson of Connecticut, the team's owner, were active participants of sit-in, which kept them on the floor for more than 24 hours.  

[ House Democrats Bring Sit-In to an End ]  

“We gave everything we had. We were certainly tired from last night and this morning, but that’s no excuse,” Pascrell said.  

Pennsylvania Democrat Brendan Boyle attended the House sit-in and played in the baseball game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Pennsylvania Democrat Brendan Boyle attended the House sit-in and played in the baseball game. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., who was a persistent presence at the sit-in, did acknowledge that he was a little out of it.  

"I know I’m tired. I kind of lost what day it is," Crowley said as he left Nationals Park. "So, I'm looking forward to a good night’s rest, actually”  

California Democrat Jared Huffman regretted nothing, even if the sleep deprivation did cause a loss.  

“I think we were way tired after last night. We showed it a lot of different ways,” Huffman said. “Several of our players were really not themselves. But, hey, I wouldn’t take it back. I’m glad we did what we did last night."  

Congress Rocks Nats Field

[ The View from the Dugouts at the Congressional Baseball Game ]  

“Working until three in the morning isn’t our usual thing and it might have affected everybody,” fellow California Democrat Tony Cardenas added.  

And although Republicans may not have stuck around the House floor all night, being called back for late-night vote wasn't ideal for them either.  

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., who drove in the game's winning run, said he was tried convincing House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., to hold votes earlier in the night.  

Scalise also played on the GOP team. It worked out for Rooney though, who said that because votes were cancelled Friday, he was able to get a solid eight hours of sleep before the game.  

Other Republicans did not get a lot of shut-eye.  

"It had to be fair, both teams only had about three hours, so nobody had an unfair shot at that," North Carolina Republican and the GOP team's starting pitcher Mark Walker said.  

“We’re doing tax reform in the morning, bright and early. Hopefully it will be a good 24 hours,” Texas Republican Kevin Brady said.  

The Democrat's starting pitcher, Cedric L. Richmond, said he got about three hours of sleep, but it didn't affect the loss.  

"No excuses," he said.

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