With Kennedy Gone, ‘Ted Sox’ Era Ends

Posted April 12, 2010 at 6:30pm

The death of Edward Kennedy continues to ripple through the Capitol Hill community in ways large and small.

[IMGCAP(1)]This summer, his absence will be felt keenly in the Capitol Hill softball community; for the first time since 1967, there will be no Ted Sox team to take the field. And it’s unclear whether his successor’s staffers will get into the game.

Kennedy was a baseball enthusiast who enjoyed not just the pro game, but his office team’s efforts in softball as well. He was known to attend games when his schedule allowed, and he was particularly interested in a rivalry with teams fielded by the office of fellow Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry.

“The Senator used to come to games,” said Griffin Doherty, a captain of the 2009 Ted Sox. “He was adamant about winning against Sen. Kerry’s office.”

Many of the former Ted Sox players work in new Hill offices, while some moved on to the private sector. Doherty first served as an intern and was later a Kennedy aide for more than two years. He now works for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

“Since we were interns, we all played for the Ted Sox,” Doherty said. Asked if any Ted Sox players might keep playing as a team, he paused, and said, “We are trying to get a team together, but I thought we’d probably end up changing the name.”

Sonja Hoover, Senate Softball League commissioner, called the Ted Sox team “a cornerstone of our league.”

In its final year, the Ted Sox finished the regular season 7-2 and qualified for the league championship tournament, but the team lost in the first round.

“Sen. Kennedy always knew who the Ted Sox were playing,” Hoover said. “He would talk about it with other Senators and never missed the Kerry-Kennedy matchup. He was very involved.”

Hoover added, “They weren’t always the best team, but they were associated with American legends. It was a way for people to be a part of that. Softball doesn’t know politics, and no Republican or Democrat would ever deny that.”

Kennedy’s replacement in the Senate, Republican Scott Brown, is known to be athletic and active, but his office has not yet decided whether to get into the softball leagues.

“Currently exploring the possibility of fielding a team, but nothing is official yet,” Brown spokesman Colin Reed said in an e-mail.

Registration for the league is open until April 22.

Doherty said he hopes Brown’s office fields a team. “They will want to play just like we did. And obviously the rivalry is a little thicker between Kerry’s office and Brown’s office now,” he said.