Sportsmanship is supposed to define the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, bringing Democrats and Republicans together away from the Capitol. But last year, it was a tragedy surrounding the event that united the parties.
On June 14, 2017, no one knew whether Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) would live or die after a gunman opened fire on a GOP practice for the game. Scalise was shot in the left hip by an Illinois man who was reportedly upset that Donald Trump had been elected president. The lawmaker, one of five people wounded at the practice in Alexandria, Virginia, underwent multiple surgeries in the weeks that followed.
“For all the noise and all the fury, we are one family,” House Speaker Ryan said that afternoon.
Exactly one year later, Scalise was cheered as he came onto the field Thursday night for the annual game at Nationals Park. As he prepared to take second base — the same position he was playing when wounded last year — he was escorted by David Bailey and Crystal Griner, the U.S. Capitol Police officers who had taken down the gunman despite suffering injuries themselves.
It didn’t take long for Scalise to get warmed up, fielding a ball hit by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) in the first inning and getting a round of high-fives and applause as he exited the field.
The sense of unity between parties echoed the one felt last year, when the game was dedicated to Scalise while he was still in the hospital. The Democratic side’s manager, Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, even gave his team’s winning trophy to Republicans to put in Scalise’s office.
By DIDI MARTINEZ and MARIA CURI