Congressional baseball is political, family tradition for Kentucky senator

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- WASHINGTON (Gray DC) – Determining political winners and losers on Capitol Hill is an inexact science. But Wednesday night, it’s as easy as looking at the scoreboard.

Sen. Rand Paul carries on family tradition during annual Congressional Baseball Game (Source: Gray DC).

Lawmakers traded the spotlight on Capitol Hill for the bright lights of the big leagues.

We asked Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), which professional ballplayer’s game most resembles his own. “I think the first mistake would be making a comparison to a professional baseball player,” he said with a smile.

Wednesday night, Paul started the game on the bench for the Republican squad before coming in as a pinch-hitter. The yearly game is political tradition dating back to 1909, and a Paul family tradition since the 1970’s. “My dad actually played in the game, and the first year I was up here, he threw out the first pitch, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said Paul. “It’s a great game, Republicans and Democrats, coming together for the love of baseball and also charity,” he added, “a lot of us have fond memories of playing when we were kids, and so, we’re no longer kids, but it’s still fun to get out on the field.”

The fun and games of the yearly tradition became deadly serious two years ago. A gunman opened fire on an early morning practice, injuring two Capitol Police officers, an aide, a lobbyist, and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA).

In a moment even Hollywood wouldn’t dare to script, a still-recovering Scalise made the first play of last year’s game. Both sides of the aisle rushed the field from opposing dugouts, and even the umpires applauded. But with the final out, Democrats kept their winning streak alive.

“We’ve only won once in the last eight years, but I think this is going to be our year,” Paul said before the game.

Paul’s pre-game prediction did not hold up. The Democrats won for the third straight year, tying the all-time series at 42 wins apiece.

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