Democrats came out on the winning end of an annual baseball game by beating Republicans 11-2. The game was especially significant this year in the wake of a shooting that took place on the practice field in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday. In that incident, 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson opened fire on both teams, injuring five, including Steve Scalise, the House Majority Whip.
The game was played at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. After the shooting, both Democrats and Republicans presented a united front during the contest and by rallying around Scalise. The Congressional Sports for Charity organization raised $1 million, and the game was attended by a record 25,000 people. The Nationals provided extra seating for the game.
The event began with Joe Torre, the former manager of the New York Yankees, giving the game ball to David Bailey, the Capitol Police special agent who was wounded in the shooting. The crowd cheered loudly as Bailey threw the first pitch. President Donald Trump did not attend but released a video message stating the importance of the game and not being intimidated by violence.
Players on both teams supported the critically injured Scalise by wearing hats with Louisiana State University insignia. The school is Scalise’s alma mater. Traditionally, the players have worn caps representing the team they are representing.
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake said he was glad the game was not canceled after the shooting because Scalise would have wanted it to go on. He added that he hoped Scalise was able to watch the game from his hospital bed, and he doubted that anyone really cared about the final score.
Louisiana Representative Cedric Richmond was the starting pitcher for the Democrats. A close friend of Scalise, Richmond said the two often teased each other about the game each year, and that Scalise would be missed. Richmond added that he was certain he could find other players to argue with.
Scalise remained hospitalized on Friday, and his recovery is expected to be lengthy and difficult.