President Joe Biden Makes Appearance at Congressional Baseball Game, Where Dems Lose for First Time Since 2016

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Posted: Sep 30, 2021 2:45 AM
President Joe Biden Makes Appearance at Congressional Baseball Game, Where Dems Lose for First Time Since 2016

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

On Wednesday night the Republican team managed to beat the Democratic one in a Congressional Baseball Game that was 13-12. Paul Kane reported for The Washington Post it's the first win for the team since 2016. The last time the GOP won, then, Joe Biden was in office, but as then President Barack Obama's vice president. 

President Biden was at the annual event played for charity, usually in the summer, though September 29 was the only calendar date available. He arrived at the top of the second inning, to boos as well as cheers. Kyle Morris reported for Fox News that his surprise appearance came after he was inducted into the game's hall of fame, which the president had actually mentioned when the Los Angeles Dodgers came to visit the White House. 

That visit from the Dodgers was memorable in other ways as well. Leah reported at the time in July how the president got thoroughly fact-checked by Zach Parkinson at the RNC for all of his outlandish claims about actually playing and his record. 

When it comes to Wednesday's game, the timing of it was difficult to ignore with votes, partisanship, fiscal cliffs, and the like.

As Kane noted:

Republicans gave [Biden] a warm welcome and he stayed with them for about an inning — yet it’s unclear the trip made a difference to the trajectory of his agenda. 

The Republican squad eked out their first win since 2016, 13-12. 

With all this happening under the Capitol dome, lawmakers still had to go ahead with the game, which through corporate sponsorships was slated to raise more than $1?million this year for local charities. 

Usually held in June or early July, a mix of the pandemic, the Washington Nationals schedule and an unusually long House summer recess left just one possible night on the calendar: Sept.?29, with fewer than 30 hours left in the fiscal year by the time of the first pitch. 

...

Shortly after 5:30?p.m., as votes ended in the Capitol, members streamed out of the building, some already wearing their baseball uniforms, ready to take the field. 

Pelosi, after a previously unscheduled trip to the White House, returned from meeting with Biden and could not make any predictions about the president’s agenda, baseball or anything else. 

“One hour at a time,” she said.

Writing for The New York Post about how doomed the infrastructure bill appears to be in the House, Samuel Chamberlain and Juliegrace Brufke had some scoop about the game as well:

President Biden took in the Congressional Baseball Game Wednesday night as he attempted to shore up support for a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that faces an uncertain future after another dramatic day on Capitol Hill. 

...

Biden, who postponed a planned Wednesday trip to Chicago to focus on getting both proposals over the finish line in the House, arrived at Nationals Park in the top of the second inning. The game was briefly delayed as he acknowledged the crowd, though the cheers soon gave way to boos from Republicans sitting in the first base stands.

“Let’s play ball!” chanted some GOP fans, who may have suspected the president of trying to ice their starting pitcher, Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.).

Some activists displayed banners urging the passage of the larger spending bill. One read, “Our lives are not a game[.] Pass 3.5T”. Another warned, more bluntly: “Democrats don’t f— this up.”

Biden eventually made his way into the third base dugout, where he chatted with members of the Democratic team. As the president schmoozed, Fox Sports 1’s TV cameras caught Pelosi in an intense cellphone conversation in the first row.

In the top of the third inning, Pelosi approached the dugout and exchanged a few brief words with Biden — with whom she and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had met in the Oval Office earlier in the evening. Before the bottom of the third, the president crossed the field and greeted Republican lawmakers in the first base dugout. Biden left the park about an hour after he arrived.

In past recent years, Democrats were favored to win because then Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) pitched for the team, including multiple complete games. He had also pitched for his college team, the Morehouse Maroon Tigers. Richmond has not played since he became a senior advisor to President Biden, though.

In December, Matt Monagan wrote for MLB.com about Richmond in a piece titled "Meet the White House staffer with a 50 WAR," citing other pieces, such as when Jeremy Bowers called him "The Babe Ruth of Congress" in a 2015 piece for The New York Times. 

Monagan also pointed to how stats from FiveThirtyEight for the 2019 game said "Richmond is like Mike Trout combined with Max Scherzer, if Scherzer pitched every single game...But he is also the best hitter in the game, with a .652/.758/1.087 slash line and the game’s only home run in the past 10 years."

While it looks like a government shutdown may be averted, the Democratic infighting doesn't look to be. It's entirely possible that the infrastructure vote will fail to pass if it's still brought up for a vote on Thursday., thanks to Progressives; we already know Republican leadership is whipping against it. Even with close to two dozen Republican House members expected to vote for it, those votes aren't enough.

Regardless, that Speaker Pelosi may have to keep changing her moves, as Guy highlighted, doesn't go unnoticed. 

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