U.S. Congressional Republicans, Democrats pause politics to play ball

by mcardinal


In a rare moment of bipartisanship in a usually bitterly divided Washington, Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress competed on Thursday in an annual baseball game.

The Republicans dominated the Democrats, winning 10-0 in a seven-inning game, that was interrupted by a rain delay.

However, not everyone was able to put politics aside for the night as climate activists tried to block entrance to National Park and disrupt the event. As people streamed into the stadium, protesters sat outside the stadium and chanted for President Joe Biden and Democrats to declare a climate emergency. Now Or Never, a collective of climate activists, said 150 people participated in the demonstration.

Another group of climate activists unfurled a banner from an upper balcony that said: “They Play Ball While The World Burns.” Police confiscated the banner, the group said.

Before the game, U.S. Capitol Police said they had a robust security plan in place to protect lawmakers, though they declined to provide details. The game, though well-loved in the community as an exercise in comradery, has also been a security concern in recent years, after a gunman wounded Republican Whip Steve Scalise at a practice game for the event in 2017.

Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department was tasked with handling demonstrators. Three arrests were made for unlawful entry, police said.

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer and conservative Democratic senator Joe Manchin announced on Wednesday that they had struck a deal on energy, tax, and healthcare bill. Though paired down from its original framework, the bill is still staunchly opposed by the GOP, who say that it will crush families already suffering from sky-high inflation and kill American jobs.

“Senate Democrats can change the name of Build Back Broke as many times as they want, it won’t be any less devastating to American families and small businesses,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who only recently worked with Manchin to pass gun legislation, said in a statement. “Raising taxes on job creators, crushing energy producers with new regulations, and stifling innovators looking for new cures will only make this recession worse, not better.”

Some climate groups have come out in support of the legislation, though the activists at the game were not among them, chanting that the “Manchin deal is not enough.”

Though the activists proved unable to create much of a disturbance, the game did not go completely smoothly. During the fourth inning, a heavy downpour caused a delay of about 40 minutes.

Additionally, at least one Democrat was unable to go the few hours without expressing her disdain for her Republican counterparts. Following a lead-off walk in the 6th inning, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) was caught on video flipping off the Republican bench as she made her way back to the dugout after being pulled for a substitute runner.

It was unclear what provoked the vulgar gesture from the congresswoman.

Following the win, the GOP’s Twitter account made a tongue-in-cheek statement that the blowout was “only a preview of what’s coming in November.”

The congressional baseball game started in 1909 and, in recent years, has been played annually. It helps support several Washington-area charities.

Copyright Thomson/Reuters (additions and edits for FISM News by Michael Cardinal)