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Calendar: Play (Congressional) Ball!

The World Series is months away, but for members of Congress and the congressional community, the big week is ahead, when everything on the legislative agenda halts for a few brief hours so grown men can break out their gloves and cleats and take the field for the 52nd Annual CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on June 13.

Democrats and Republicans have been practicing for weeks for Thursday's big game. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Democrats and Republicans have been practicing for weeks for Thursday’s big game. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Partisanship Put Aside

There is no end to the members and armchair pundits who bemoan the lack of civility in civic discourse, particularly when it comes to the nation’s capital. But last year’s CQ Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game is living proof that regardless of one’s political beliefs, the arguments and sturm und drang can be put aside, the verbal brickbats exchanged for baseball bats and balls, as the nation’s lawmakers engage in the country’s pastime.

The date of last year’s game, June 28, was one of the most contentious and vitriolic political days in U.S. history. It started off with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that the signature domestic policy achievement of President Barack Obama, the health care overhaul law, was constitutional. The law, which has divided Democrats and Republicans for years now, might have been upheld by the judiciary, but congressional warriors took to the ramparts to celebrate or bemoan, loudly, their feelings about the ruling.

That was followed later in the day by the GOP-led House voting to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress, an action that further inflamed the Capitol tinderbox.

Yet, by the time the members of Congress, staffers and families gathered at Nationals Park for the game, the rough feelings seemed to have been left somewhere between the campus and the stadium, perhaps in one of those abandoned gas stations along North Capitol Street. The Democrats’ lopsided 18-5 win belied the friendly, but competitive, approach both teams brought to the diamond.

Plus, it’s for charity. The Washington Literacy Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and Washington Nationals Dream Foundation all benefit.

And for those who would despair that, while members might leave aside petty politics and partisanship for a few hours at Nationals Park, they go right back at it the next day over the budget and scandal du jour, who knows? Perhaps we’re nearing the end of years of bad political feelings. Take heart in Tom Trebelhorn’s immortal quote about the Chicago Cubs: “The last time the Cubs won the World Series was 1908. The last time they were in one was 1945.  Hey, any team can have a bad century.”

The opening pitch is at 7:05 p.m. on June 13. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online until the first pitch.

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