Let Billy Hit!

Posted June 13, 2012 at 12:01am

Practices for the upcoming Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on June 28 are in full swing, and it appears Members on the Democratic squad are having some fun on the field.

During team practices, the players launched the “Let Billy Hit” campaign, their effort to persuade their manager, Rep. Mike Doyle (Pa.), to let Rep. Bill Pascrell (N.J.), the team’s batting coach, step up to the plate.

“He just won his race in a landslide, and we think we should reward him by giving him an at-bat,” said Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.), the Democratic team standout whom fellow teammates have nicknamed “Franchise,” a nod to Richmond’s pitching prowess that helped shut down the Republicans in last year’s game.

Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio), the team’s first baseman, said Pascrell “hit a home run” in his primary battle and thus deserves to try to hit one out of the park during the game.

At age 75, Pascrell, who defeated fellow Democratic Rep. Steven Rothman in the June 5 primary, is the oldest member on the team. Although Pascrell said he appreciates the sentiment of his teammates, he’s perfectly happy to sit on the bench during the game and focus on his coaching duties.

“Although he thanks his friends and teammates for their support, Congressman Pascrell is happy to serve as hitting coach and fully confident in his friend Mike Doyle to manage the game as he sees fit,” said Ben Rich, Pascrell’s chief of staff. “Coach Doyle does a fantastic job with the team, which always plays like a well-oiled machine and has a good win streak going. That being said, if the team needs a little late-inning magic, Congressman Pascrell is more than willing to step into the batter’s box.”

Richmond didn’t say whether the campaign to let Pascrell hit was being done in earnest or was a prank on the team’s eldest member. He did say, however, that the Democratic team “is just a bunch of clowns” and that the atmosphere is “like being back on a high school baseball team,” with players picking on one other as well as pushing one other to succeed.

When HOH reached out to Doyle’s office about the campaign, we didn’t receive an answer on whether we’ll get to see Pascrell in the batter’s box. But he did say, “There’s never a dull moment when you manage 17 prima donnas.”