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Baseball is back for Scalise, Hill colleagues

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 9:06 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Republicans and Democrats are taking their fight to the baseball diamond tonight in the annual Congressional Baseball Game. The charity event is taking place for the first time since 2019 after Covid sent the event on a hiatus.

“We’re playing a kid’s game out here. Playing baseball,” said Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA).

The game and its build up give Scalise a break from his day job. Scalise relishes the opportunity to step away from Capitol Hill and onto the diamond.

“Republicans play the Democrats. It’s very competitive, but you build really good relationships,” said Scalise.

Scalise enjoys the morning practices leading up to the big game, calling them a good way to start the day. He remembers well the one practice that ended in tragedy, in 2017 when a gunman opened fire on him and his colleagues, sending Scalise to the hospital with gunshot wounds and a long road to recovery. The number two House Republican says he is getting better with each day.

“I can’t run the bases yet, maybe next year, but I can field, I can bat. I feel better each year I come out,” said Scalise.

This game is taking place in an extraordinary year, with the backdrop of a pandemic, and months after rioters stormed the Capitol as nearly 140 Republicans voted against the certification of the 2020 general election results, including Scalise. The usual division between the parties grew even wider in 2021.

“The country is very divided right now, and it’s reflected here in Congress, especially in the House where you see the politics very divided. But this is one place where we can put that aside. At the end of the day, we’re playing baseball,” said Scalise.

Scalise acknowledges battles continue to take place in the halls of Congress with big budget items causing controversy. But he also notes that tonight is about charity - a chance to shed their suits, put on their spikes, and do some good for the community.

“You get to build better relationships, and frankly I think our politics would be less polarized if we got to know each other more on a personal level. Find some common ground on some things,” said Scalise.

Scalise is the only Louisiana lawmaker competing this year after Congressional Baseball legend former Rep. Cedric Richmond moved to work at the White House earlier this year as a senior advisor to the president.

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