Everything you'll ever need to know about congressional baseball

On Thursday, the members of Congress will take a break from not really accomplishing anything to play a game of baseball at Nationals Park. The Annual Congressional Baseball Game pits the Republicans against the Democrats and is cause for some serious trash talk in the halls on the Hill.

In 2011, Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana (who played ball at Morehouse College) nearly tossed a no-hitter and used his 80-mph fastball to help the Dems to a victory. Last year, he brought his curve ball with him and tossed a gem on the way to an 18-5 win.

This year, though, things might be a little different. The GOP team seems to think that Rep. Ron DeSantis of Florida will be the answer to Richmond's skills on the mound. Rep. DeSantis was captain of the Yale baseball team in 2001.

Normally, a freshman from Florida would not be recognized in the halls of Congress, even by his colleagues. But prowess on the field trumps the furtive anonymity of legislating, thus making DeSantis one of the most popular new members in his caucus. Not a week goes by at the Capitol, he said, that he's not stopped on the House floor or in the hallway to be asked about his arm or his swing.

Other important notes:

  • In 1914, the game made is so that there weren't enough members of Congress on the floor to debate a Civil War cotton-damage bill.
  • In 2008, Rep. Louie Gohmert tore his ACL and meniscus on a play at the plate.
  • The rivalry had gotten "too physical" and the game was suspended from 1958-1962.
  • "'I couldn't believe that the first question I was asked after getting elected was if I could play baseball,' [Rep. Mike] Doyle said with a laugh."
  • "You won't see a lot of these guys this serious in their other congressional duties."
  • The GOP team practices at a field in Virginia because they left their former training site after a foul ball hit a teacher who was out on a smoking break.

You can't make this stuff up. The full piece, over at The Atlantic, contains infographics, a timeline of the rivalry's history, and a number of anecdotes that will certainly convince you that your elected officials have their priorities straight. [The Atlantic]