It’s been said that the Washington Nationals, and more specifically the Nationals Park, only exist so lobbyists have a place to take political bigshots on dates. This, of course, only worked before rules against lobbyist gift-giving were instated. Still, the whole franchise has its benefits: the stadium provides a great venue for the Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game!
Last week’s game was the 48th such event, with the Democrats sagging under eight years of brutal defeat (both on and off the field of play.) The Congressional Baseball Game is not a widely attended event, leaving the stands 75% empty. The Democrats may have had a larger showing than Republicans, but only by a hair. Both sides made up for their lack in numbers with enthusiasm, with groups of LAs and interns waving colorful signs and heckling players with political jabs. When Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), famous for fighting pork-barrel spending, stepped up to bat, Democratic spectators intoned “Earmarks! Earmarks!”
The event was a classic baseball experience, pickled in the political life that saturates Washington. The game began with the national anthem, sung not by a pop star but a military commander. A military guard processed the colors onto the field, and a moment of silence was given for the US troops. Concessions hawkers bellowed classic lines from the aisles: “Cold beer, soda, peanuts! Beer man, beer man!” But as soon as they were flagged down by two hopeful-looking interns? “Lemme see some ID, ladies, some ID, ladies!” The teams wore no standard uniforms, instead choosing the uniforms of a university in their district or state, or a favorite NBA team. There was also no umpire (who would it be, Nancy Pelosi? Somehow I can’t picture her in an ump’s mask.) However, one comforting constant remained: even in Congress, sports commentators are obnoxious.
If you’re a DC intern, you must attend- this game is a great time.
(P.S. The Democrats won. Here’s to eight more!)