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Chris Morris for BuzzFeed News
And (almost) everyone insists that they can play the Congressional Baseball Game as usual even after the January 6 riot.
Posted on Sep 29, 2021 at 9:26 am ET
WASHINGTON – On Wednesday evening, MP Marjorie Taylor Greene will take the field with the Republican congressional baseball team and join the ranks of more than a century of lawmakers who are living their major league dreams in the name of charity and bragging rights .
The game – seven innings on a large playing field – is a Washington tradition from an earlier era, marked by odes to non-partisanship that either roll eyes or make people admit that ultimately it is important to admit it remember the lawmakers are people too. And lawmakers take it very seriously: They practiced before dawn every day, and members of both teams spoke poetically ahead of the game about how good a former pitcher Cedric Richmond was before he was poached by the West Wing. After the 2017 shootings that targeted a Republican practice and nearly killed House Minority whip Steve Scalise, the game bridged our current era of violence and polarization with another.
But it’s not strange that I should have asked Democratic lawmakers to play Greene in a charity game about bipartisanism – given that, you know everything?
Greene was just one of 147 Republicans who opposed the confirmation of the 2020 election results after the uprising of January 6th, but she is one of the loudest cheerleaders of false electoral conspiracies. All House Democrats and eleven Republicans voted to have Greene removed from committee assignments for the second month in Congress because of the racist remarks and comments she made prior to her election in support of violence against Democrats. In the months since then, she has harassed MPs Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush to the extent that Ocasio-Cortez raised security concerns and Bush decided to move her office from Greene’s “for the [her] security of the team,” voting against the award of congressional gold medals to Capitol cops who responded on Jan. 6 and compared coronavirus restrictions to the Holocaust.
But the Democratic cadre seemed largely upset that I was wondering if politics was one Bunch of politicians could get in the way at baseball.
“I think this is one of those cases where, you know, while I’m still angry with a lot of the members – Republican members who at least got the thought behind the uprising in.” Regarding the electoral repeal supported – that we will just focus. “On the game,” said Arizona’s Rep. Ruben Gallego.
He’s definitely doing ke too A worried about Greene’s skills in the field. “If she’s playing baseball as badly as I saw her shooting the M82, I don’t think she’s going to be a very effective baseball player,” he said, referring to a campaign ad showing Greene with a 50-caliber Gun shoots at a Prius.
In response to a request for comment on the story, Greene spokesman Nick Dyer said in an email: “Over 70 Democrats have voted to expel Congressman Greene from Congress signed up and every Democrat voted to remove them from the committees. Who are really the aggressors? Who’s really bad? “Dyer blamed Greene’s series of public confrontations with Democratic members on Democrats, including Rep. Eric Swalwell, who he said had had a” mental breakdown in the Capitol, “added,” It is It’s time you learn to be a true journalist rather than a gossip columnist. ”
Another Democratic player, Swalwell, compared the game of baseball to the Olympics, where countries with many differences come together to celebrate sport, and the Former President George W. Bush, who threw the first throw at Yankee Stadium after 9/11. “I don’t want politics to be part of the game,” he said.
Steve Scalise hugs Raul Ruiz during the 57th Annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on June 14, 2018.
Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle, one of the Democratic team’s two managers, said he and many other players had a tough time h befriended Republican members of the baseball games and that they “try to get as much of it behind as possible.” “Of course, not only do we have very strong disagreements about what happened on January 6th, but also on other issues, “Doyle said in a pre-game interview. “But one day a year we try to put on a decent show for the people who come in the stands and buy a ticket, knowing that this money is only going to the charities we support.” Still, in some ways, Doyle realizes this is a different year, with an endless pandemic and a former president who, with the help of allies like Greene, insists that his election was stolen. “We’ll see,” he added. “I know our intention is not to walk in there angry. Our intent is to go in there and beat them on the baseball field. ”Traditionally, the game will raise money for a number of charities in the DC area, including the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund. The fund was added to charities a few years ago after Scalise, a lobbyist, employee and member of Scalise’s security service, was shot dead during practice the day before the 2017 game. Without the detailed Capitol Police officers returning fire from the shooter, it would be very likely that the exercise would have turned into a mass casualty event.
The fund is grim, freshly relevant again this year. Less than nine months have passed since the January 6 riot, when five people, including a police officer, died during or shortly after the attack. Four cops, including a Capitol Police Officer, who responded have died by suicide in the months since.
As I was covering this story, Greene was hitting the news again, this time starting a screaming fight on the Capitol steps on abortion when she yelled at a group of Democratic members who had gathered for a press conference to “stand with the women.” Democratic Representatives Pete Aguilar and Debbie Dingell snapped back; the former called Greene “performative,” and the latter told her to practice “the basic thing the church teaches: respect your neighbor”.
Greene yells at Rep Debbie Dingell (off camera) during a rally Build Back Better for Women, held by Democrats on the steps of the US Capitol on September 24th.
Later that day, Greene on Twitter quoted Dingell with a quote and wrote, “ALL House Democrats are angry and will Kill unborn babies to birth & then celebrate. ” In another tweet the next morning, Greene wrote, “Dingellberry is like one of those pesky little pieces that stick on for way too long.”
But Aguilar, a member of the Democratic baseball team, said he didn’t think it would be embarrassing will see her back in the field. Like many of his peers, he said he will focus on winning the game, but he won’t be surprised if Greene picks up the fight again during the game. “She clearly loves the spotlight and loves yelling at her coworkers when the cameras are around. So I can imagine that with the cameras on, she will continue to do the same, ”he said.
Aguilar has been part of the team since he was elected seven years ago. He said he well remembered the camaraderie forged between Democrats and Republicans in the post-shooting games on Republican training. But this year, he confessed, doesn’t feel the same.
“Many of our colleagues on the other team were in the house with me and voted not to confirm the election after a mob tried to storm the Capitol and kill us, ”said Aguilar during an interview on Tuesday afternoon. “I think this part is a little difficult, considering how we came together after that one incident and how divided we are after that incident. … It’s hard to find your way around. ”
Aguilar will sit on the committee of inquiry on January 6th. He wonders if his Republican colleagues see him differently now.
California Rep Jared Huffman also said this year has felt strange to him. “We played this game in difficult political moments. We played it in the shadow of the terrible filming of Steve Scalise – but that feels like the most surreal moment of all, and this game doesn’t play out in a vacuum, ”he said. “It happens in the context of what is going on in the nation’s capital and in the nation itself.” Legislators struggled to find the right words to describe how they felt playing against Greene , especially in relation to January 6th.
“It may be, you know what is the right word? Cumbersome, intense, scary. I don’t know, ”he said. “I definitely hope we can find a moment of charitable common cause and impartiality. That’s what this game has always been about, and that’s what most of us love about it. ”Early Tuesday morning, a handful of Democratic lawmakers gathered in a security-flanked field in northeast DC for their penultimate exercise before the big day . Representative Linda Sánchez from California, who wore strands of pink in her hair, has been on the team for 19 years.
We stood along the first baseline and watched her colleagues hack on crisp punching practice areas thrown by a staff member did. “It’s harder to come into the office every day and hang out with people you can’t trust,” Sánchez said when I asked if the attack – and the sympathy some of their Republican counterparts have shown for the insurgents – their way of thinking is influencing the game this year. But she added, “On a baseball field, you focus on the game.”
Sánchez paused as another Democrat walked by and handed her her glove, which he used to snatch flyballs in the outfield, before continuing. “So you don’t really think about it. But yeah, I mean, January 6th is burned into everyone’s collective memory. I’m still scared about it. “Then she began to suffocate. ●
Correction: Four police officers have died of suicide in the months since January 6th. An earlier version of this story incorrectly categorized the police officers.A BuzzFeed News investigation conducted with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists based on thousands of documents the government refused to see.