Red vs. Blue at Nats Park Congressional Baseball Game

For all the latest developments in Congress, follow WTOP Capitol Hill correspondent Mitchell Miller at Today on the Hill.

Congress is as divided as ever, but Republican and Democratic lawmakers will take part in a good-natured spring ritual at D.C.’s Nationals Park on Wednesday during the annual Congressional Baseball Game.

It’s a rare bipartisan event that has a rich history and raises money for local charities.

While lawmakers try to take down the political temperature for the game, some climate activists have other ideas.

Protesters, including the group Climate Defiance, have announced plans to disrupt the game in some way, although they haven’t said exactly how, except in referring to a “blockade.”

The groups want to draw attention to their opposition to federal support for the fossil fuel industry.

At least eight protestors rushed the field during the game on Wednesday night, before being tackled and detained by U.S. Capitol Police.

In a post on X, USCP said they were aware of the intended protest ahead of the game and had put it into their “comprehensive action plan” on how to respond. The eight people were arrested and federally charged with interference.

As for the action on the ball field, Republicans will be seeking their fourth win in a row, after defeating the Democrats 16-6 last year.

The GOP team has been strong for several years, and one of their stars has been Rep. Greg Steube, of Florida, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018.

He hit a rare home run into the seats in 2021 and was on the diamond last year, despite being injured after a fall while doing roof work at his Florida home. In addition to being a strong hitter, he’s pitched for the Republicans.

One of the team’s leaders is Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who still plays despite being seriously injured when a gunman fired on Republican lawmakers while they were practicing in Alexandria in 2017. He was awarded the Medal of Merit for his courage during the shooting. The shooting led to numerous surgeries for Scalise, but he continues to take part in the game.

Democrats haven’t won since 2019 (there was no game in 2020 due to the pandemic), when they beat the GOP 14-7.

One of the Democrats’ most popular players is Rep. Linda Sanchez, of California, who last year became the first woman to coach a team since the game had its start in 1909.

Sanchez has played in the game since 2003 and grew up playing fast-pitch softball. She is also a lifelong Dodgers fan.

The Republicans’ coach is Rep. Roger Williams, of Texas, who is credited with building a strong GOP lineup. The Republican team has a longer roster than that of the Democrats.

The final score of game saw Republicans on top again 31-11.

The game is usually highly entertaining, with lots of base stealing and substitutions. The Democrats wear uniforms that reflect their favorite teams and interests. The Republicans wear uniforms that are all the same color, but often use their ball caps to reflect their favorite teams, and sometimes their players share the same number.

Last year’s game raised $1.8 million for charities, including the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund. The fund was added to the list of charities, following the 2017 shooting. Organizers expect this year’s game to raise more than $2 million for charity.

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Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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