Ahead of the June 23rd Congressional Baseball Game , Democrat coach Pennsylvania Congressman Mike Doyle and Republican coach Texas Congressman Roger Williams gave Roll Call a scouting report of practice so far. Republicans are working to redeem their losing streak while Democrats are aiming for their 8th consecutive win .
How long have you been coaching your congressional team?
Doyle : “I think this is 10 years now. I was a player for 12 years.”
Williams : “It’s my fourth year. Each year we’ve improved. last year, I thought we should have won.”
Why are you coaching instead of playing?
Doyle : “I got old. We have had coaches that have played too … and back then, the Republicans were beating us pretty regularly. So I just told the guys that I was going to make a lot of changes and I was going to play our best players. And I thought the best way to do that was to not play myself.”
Williams : “I played at Texas Christian University. Then I played for the Atlanta Braves (farm system) and I went back and coached at TCU for three years. I felt like I could do better coaching the guys rather than playing. You get to be a certain age, it’s probably better to coach. Back home, I have a batting cage at my house and so forth. But I thought I could bring the knowledge I have of the game to these guys.”
What are your expectations for this year’s game?
Doyle : “We’re practicing hard, and we intend to be well prepared at game time. If we make the plays in the field and put our bats on the ball, we should have a good result.”
Williams : “I think that we’ve got a really good chance to win this year. We have a really good pitching staff. We’ve always hit the ball. So if we can run, catch and throw, we’re gonna win. We’re gonna win.”
Who will be your team’s M.V.P. this year?
Doyle : “Every year, it’s a combination of things. Someone will have a great game. You only play one game a year, you know. It’s hard to say who the MVP is. Cedric Richmond is the MVP a lot because he’s such a dynamic pitcher.”
Williams : “If I start naming them, I’m going to miss somebody. We’ve got Kevin Brady, Kevin has been a former MVP. We’ve got great pitching—Mark Walker, John Shimkus, Patrick Meehan and Ryan Costello.”
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Do you find its difficult going to work after such early morning practices?
Doyle : “I think most members get up early anyway. If we weren’t here, we would be getting ready to go to a breakfast or a meeting somewhere. Some are much better about coming to practice and then we have some notorious prima donnas.”
Williams : “Most of us would like to keep practicing. There’s a little boy in everybody—when you get a ball and a bat and your hand in a glove, you’re back in your backyard when you were 10 years old. We have great workouts and everybody gets back right on time.”