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Democratic Frolicking at Wrigley Field

When the Boston Red Sox play the Chicago Cubs in June for the first time since the 1918 World Series, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will be there in all his glory. So will Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). So will dozens of Democratic donors who could get pretty rowdy.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is turning this historic baseball event at Wrigley Field into a fundraiser dubbed “DSCC weekend in Chicago.” Durbin bought about 75 seats for the Red Sox-Cubs game June 11, according to one donor, which we hear has ticked off some Republicans in Chicago who want tickets to the game.

The DSCC declined to release further details on the fundraiser, the cost or other arrangements.[IMGCAP(1)]

All we know is that Durbin is flat excited about the weekend. On his plane ride back from Pope John Paul II’s funeral in Rome, Durbin told HOH through his spokesman that he’s psyched about the game — and the Cubs’ prospects this year. “Not only will this be a great weekend for the people who come,” Durbin said, “they’ll get to see what will surely be a preview of the seven games of the World Series in the fall.”

Kennedy was even more boastful about the Red Sox’s prospects. “Imagine how exciting it will be when the Red Sox play the White Sox in the ALCS and the Cubs in the World Series,” Kennedy said. “They may never let us back in Chicago again!”

Uh-oh, Houston, the DSCC may have a real problem. All HOH can envision is a fundraiser gone wild in the stands at Wrigley and spilling out onto Clark and Addison.

But DSCC spokesman Phil Singer promises that Senate Democrats’ fundraising team can handle any problems if their donors become unruly. “We’re hoping the Boston and Chicago delegations behave appropriately, but if they don’t, we’re ready to send [DSCC Chairman Charles] Schumer [N.Y.] in to break up any fights,” he said.

More Baseball Madness. It didn’t even take steroids to draw two major House Republicans to a baseball-themed fundraiser for Democratic Rep. David Scott of Georgia. They were drawn by Scott’s brother-in-law, baseball legend Hank Aaron.

Scott raised more than $250,000 at Thursday’s fundraiser, according to his chief of staff, Rob Griner. The event marked the 31st anniversary of Aaron’s historic home run that broke Babe Ruth’s record and was a milestone for black athletes.

House Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Financial Services Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) didn’t contribute any money, but they both showed up to meet Aaron and fete Scott, who sits on both committees. They deadpanned that it was the first Democratic fundraiser they’ve attended this year.

David Pringle, vice president of Aflac, said Oxley and Goodlatte were both “extremely complimentary” of Scott, thanking him for his work across the aisle to reach common ground. Pringle said the event was “one of the more memorable fundraisers” he’s ever attended. After all, he said, “It’s not every day that you get to meet an American hero. Aaron is truly a living legend.”

Many donors got their pictures taken with Aaron. Others got baseballs autographed after watching a film showing that famous moment when Aaron hit his 715th homer.

“Everybody was mesmerized, and then seeing that legend of a man standing there,” Pringle said.

For his part, Scott talked about how Aaron, who is married to the Congressman’s sister, has been a role model to him, both on and off the field.

Know When to Fold ’Em. Which Member of Congress has the best poker face? Think it’s Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) or Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)? Or maybe it’s Jim McCrery (R-La.) or Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) in the House.

We’ll find out Wednesday night when these Members and several others ante up for the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation’s first annual Capitol Hill Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament.

Phil Gordon, the exceedingly popular commentator for professional poker tournaments, will serve as master of ceremonies for the event, which will be a “no limit” hold’em tournament.

For $1,000, each player will get $2,000 in chips. Proceeds go to the cancer foundation’s pet projects — the “young scientists” fund, which gives grants to promising scientists at universities and medical centers, and “Tracy’s Kids,” an art therapy program for young cancer patients at Georgetown University Medical Center’s Lombardi Cancer Research Center.

The tournament, which will be held at the Mayflower Hotel from 6:30 to 11 p.m., will begin with 10 tables of 10 players each. None of the players is playing for a chance to win money. Only the winners of the championship round will play to win prizes donated to the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation.

Other Members competing in the tournament include Oxley, Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas), John Tanner (D-Tenn.), Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner (R-Va.) and Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.).

Frist From Rome. Who needs The Associated Press when you have Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s (R-Tenn.) live report from the Vatican?

The Tennessee Republican e-mailed a lengthy, albeit thoughtful and eloquent, note to supporters of his PAC as he and his wife were standing in line for the pope’s funeral.

“Karyn and I and a bipartisan group of 14 senators are just about to walk into St. Peter’s Square as the funeral mass for Pope John Paul II is about to begin,” Frist’s note began.

He described the hundreds of thousands of mourners around him, how the delegation had already viewed the pope’s “earthly remains,” and how on the flight over to Rome they reminisced about the “Holy Father — his life, his teachings, his faith, his suffering.”

Frist, who is Presbyterian, said he “had not been in St. Peter’s in over 30 years, since a visit with my longtime friend from Nashville John Gibson, and its powerful architecture only accented the unique dignity of our time to stop and prayerfully reflect on the life and legacy of the Pope. So much passed through my mind and heart as Karyn and I stood together within feet of his body, and we felt the spirit of this unique man and his powerful faith.”

“Respectfully from the Vatican, Bill Frist.”

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