The History of the Congressional Baseball Game, 108 Years In

Congress loves to play games. There’s no
shortage of intramural matches on the basketball court, football field, they
even play ice hockey against one another. However, the Congressional baseball game
stands apart in terms of its competition and the level of excitement that it
generates particularly among the membership. You don’t always get to
watch the the Nationals play the Dodgers in game five, sometimes you want to see
like regular people play. As far as we can tell the Congressional baseball game
started had its origins in 1909. It went in fits and starts from that point.
They would occasionally play games where they could you know get one together.
Sometimes they played at Griffith Stadium, where the original Washington
Senators played. There were times when they played in Daytona Beach in Florida
during spring break which was a hit for members. Members would go down there and
get get their own sort of spring training games going on. In 1958 though,
there was a point where the Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, a Democrat from
Texas, saw that there was a little too much energy a little too much enthusiasm
and way too many injuries that were resulting from the congressional baseball
game. He put an end to it and almost immediately people there was an outcry.
People did not want this game to be canceled. So in 1962, Roll Call founder Sid Yudain started the Congressional baseball
game up again it’s been running since then since 1962 with Roll Call as a lead
sponsor. We’re proud of our part in bringing it back, we think it’s a lot of
fun. Members also think it’s fun but they’re also really into it. Of course we have fun, we have a good bunch of guys that work
hard they have some fun and take the game seriously. This game is a situation in which your a product of your
political success but we have a good recruiting year. There’s been no shortage of injuries. This is the reason that Rayburn, you know, was concerned about the game. We’re seeing people carted off the
field with broken noses, broken wrists. It seems like that’s a risk that a
lot of the members are willing to take. We had a lot of GOP momentum here you
know look we came out of a couple rocky days in the house I think you came up
ready to go we were ready to win this thing. We’re here on the scene in Alexandria
Virginia at Eugene Simpson Field. There was a shooting here this morning shortly after
7:00 a.m. Republican members of the GOP baseball team were practicing at this
field over here. We know that five people were shot this morning one of them is
Congressman Steve Scalise, he’s a Republican whip. We are all horrified by this dreadful
attack on our friends and on our colleagues and those who serve and
protect this Capitol. We are all praying for those who are attacked and for their
families. And now knowing Steve Scalise as we all do, he is likely really
frustrated that he’s not going to be able to play in the baseball game. We would ask the American people to pray for those who were shot. The
congressmen, volunteers and our officers and it will it will be play ball
tomorrow night at 7:05. The reason for its popularity I think are varied. One
baseball again is part of the kind of fabric of American culture and members
of Congress tend to to take that very seriously they probably grew up and have
very good memories of being baseball fan and a chance to take place you know in a
game is like in representing their party in Congress is sort of this
too-good-to-be-true sort of thing to pass up. It’s an event
that you know in a town that is increasingly partisan
it’s a time when people can come together and actually have some fun.

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