Sports | July 29, 2022 1:59 pm

Despite Lopsided Score, Congressional Baseball Game Was a True Toss-Up

The Congressional Baseball Game has been an annual bipartisan event since 1909

Republicans celebrate their win in the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park.
Republicans were in a good mood following their 10-0 win in the Congressional Baseball Game.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

Losers to the GOP in what they hope won’t be a preview of this fall’s midterm elections, Democratic members of Congress did not acquit themselves very well against their Republican counterparts in the annual Congressional Baseball Game.

Likely upset about what ended up being a 10-0 score in the seven-inning game, Democratic Rep. Linda Sanchez showed her displeasure by flipping the opposing team the bird while jogging back to her dugout. While inflammatory, the gesture from Sanchez did nothing to help prevent a blowout loss that should have been a much tighter game based on the history of the players on the diamond.

Despite winning this year’s game as well as taking last year’s by a 13-2 margin, Republicans have won the annual game just three times since 2009 while Dems have 10 victories. A huge factor in the recent rivalry between the two teams was the two-way play of former Rep. Cedric Richmond, who did not play yesterday having resigned from Congress to work for President Biden in the White House. Prior to his resignation, Richmond, a former Morehouse College baseball player hit .654/.757/1.077 in the game and went 8-0 with a 2.64 ERA on the mound. Per FiveThirtyEight, Richmond’s 2.8 wins above replacement in the Congressional Baseball Game were seven times as many as any other player.

The Democrats clearly missed Richmond’s bat and arm this year, but there’s still no statistical reason they should have lost as badly as they did because the teams entered Thursday night’s game pretty evenly matched. “Several up-and-coming lawmakers have emerged to replace Richmond as the game’s star players, and they are a bipartisan crop,” per FiveThirtyEight. “Of the 10 most valuable players on the 2022 rosters (according to total WAR since 2009), five are Democrats and five are Republicans.”

Of those 10 players, GOP Rep. Greg Steube, who had four hits in seven at-bats entering Thursday night, likely raised his WAR the most on Thursday night by tossing five shutout innings before being replaced by Rep. August Pfluger. As for the five Democrats, there’s always next year.

And that’s a good thing as the Congressional Baseball Game, which was first organized by former professional baseball player and then-Pennsylvania Rep. John Tener in 1909 and began with Democrats drubbing their Republican opponents 26-16, raised more than $1.7 million for organizations such as The Washington Literary Center and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington this year.