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Take Me Out To The (Soft)Ball Game

Wednesday night was the 4th annual Congressional Women’s Softball game. It’s one of the official kickoffs of summer for D.C. and it pits a gathering of female journos against a bi-partisan collection of female politicians. The journos were led by team captains Amy Walter from ABC News, Abby Livingston from Roll Call and Brianna Keilar from CNN. The captains for the Congressional team were Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).

The announcers for the game were Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. Klobuchar acknowledged early in the game that she might have problems with all the baseball terms since she had spent “all day debating catfish and the farm bill.”

The journos, who call themselves “The Bad News Babes,” got off to an early start with AP’s Kasie Hunt getting a base hit to start the game. The cheering section for the members of Congress was mostly made up of staffers, although Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor made appearances.

It wasn’t long before relentless attention whore Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) took over the microphone to help call the game. He said that Gillibrand, who was pitching the the Congressional team, reminded him of “a young Whitey Ford.” This prompted Mitchell to tell the senator it was time for him to “go back to the stands.” Other notables in the crowd included the recently-announced D.C. Bureau Chief for Buzzfeed, John Stanton, Sec. of Labor, Hilda Solis and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) with his wife, Elizabeth. It’s worth noting that the congressman was on the Bad News Babes side of the field to cheer on his daughter, Jackie Kucinich of USA Today.

Wednesday was the official start of summer and, right on cue, it was hot as hell. So, we can hardly fault John Harwood for guzzling one of the free purple Gatorades being handed out at the game. Also spotted was MSNBC’s Luke Russert sporting this loud pink T-shirt and a backwards Buffalo Bills hat. His buddy, Politico’s Jake Sherman, dressed himself with a little more sanity.

The Bad News Babes poured on the offense for most of the game until House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi arrived late in the game. That’s about the time that the Congressional bats opened up and made the game competitive again. In the end, the press was too much for Congress and they won 13-10. We asked Roll Call’s Meredith Shiner, who went 3-3 in the game what the key to the win was. She says, “Other than the innate killer instincts of reporting applied gracefully to a baseball diamond? My biased analysis is that we out-classed and out-sassed the other side, led by our three tireless captains, Abby, Amy and Bri. My former sports reporting analysis says the key to our win was what I like to call sports amnesia–forgetting the last play or inning and coming back stronger. I was especially impressed by Abby and our third baseman/relief pitcher Gregory Simmons, who even in times of softball duress both showed the mental grit we needed to win.”

Congratulations to the Babes on their win. The event raised awareness for breast cancer and benefited the Young Survivors Network, a group that assists women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

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