Congressman Tom Suozzi was in the starting lineup as a designated hitter in the Congressional Baseball Game on Thursday, June 15.
“To be one of only 20 players—and a freshman—on the Democrats Congressional Baseball team was an awesome experience,” said Suozzi. “After the shootings last Wednesday, the game took on a more important meaning, and the experience was truly humbling. Since day one, I have talked about bipartisan cooperation and civility. It’s a shame it took a tragedy, but now it’s a part of the national conversation.”
Suozzi and his teammates first learned of the shootings at the Republican practice around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 14, while the Democrats were practicing at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC.
“After the initial shock, confirmation of the events and being instructed by police to shelter in place at the dugout, the entire Democratic team circled together and prayed for our Republican colleagues and the other victims,” said Suozzi. “It was very moving.”
In a show of bipartisan unity, before Thursday night’s game at Nationals Stadium, Democrats and Republicans came together as one united Congress and prayed for the victims and their families as they knelt at second base, where the injured Congressman Steve Scalise was supposed to have played.
Capitol Police officer David Bailey, who was injured in the attack, threw out the first pitch.
Though games were not played during World War I and II as well as at other times, this was the 80th game of a tradition dating back to 1909. This year’s game raised a record $1.5 million for charity and was attended by nearly 25,000 fans.
“It was a very emotional and sobering week for all of us,” added Suozzi. “I sincerely hope we use this unique opportunity to show the American people that we’re here to try and get things done—together as Americans.”
Suozzi had a hard-hit line drive to the shortstop and a ground ball to the third baseman, leaving him 0 for 2.
“It was still a fantastic experience, and I hope I get to play again next year,” said Suozzi.
The Democrats won the game 11-2. They now lead the overall series 40-39-1.
Following their victory, the Democrats gave this year’s trophy to the Republicans to place in Scalise’s office until he recovers.
“I will continue to pray for Steve, the injured officers and other victims, and for our country,” said Suozzi. “We have important work to do. The people are sick of politics and politicians, and we need to work together on these life and death issues and actually get things done—together.”
Read Suozzi’s column “The Healing Power Of Baseball.”