Republicans and Democrats put aside their differences to root for "Team Scalise" during the Congressional Baseball Game this year.
Many lawmakers wore purple and gold hats and shirts emblazoned with the LSU logo in a show of support for Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot one day earlier during the Republican team's practice for the annual event.
[NATL-DC] Republicans, Dems Play Ball One Day After Shooting
Scalise graduated from LSU in 1989. He is regularly decked out “from head to toe” in team gear, a representative for Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, said Thursday morning.
Scalise’s alma mater reportedly helped make the tribute at the game possible.
In an interview with NOLA.com, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said he responded to a request for gear by sending hats, towels and shirts for both the Democratic and Republican teams to wear.
Scalise remains in critical condition, but has improved, MedStar Washington Hospital said in an update Thursday night. He had a second surgery related to his internal injuries and a broken bone in his leg, the hospital said.
David Bailey, one of the Capitol Police officers injured in the shooting at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, threw out the first pitch at the game.
Bailey walked to the pitcher's mound in crutches and former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre handed him the game ball. Bailey then threw a pitch that bounced before reaching the catcher, Roberto Clemente Jr. He gave a good-natured shrug as the stadium applauded.
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Three others were shot Wednesday, including Matt Mika, director of government relations for Tysons Foods, who was in critical condition after being shot twice in the chest; Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner, who was shot in the ankle; and Zack Barth, an aide to Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), who was shot in the calf.
The Nationals said nearly 25,000 people attended -- a record number for the Congressional Baseball Game. More than $1 million was raised for Congressional Sports for Charity. The Capitol Police Memorial Fund was added as a beneficiary on Wednesday.
The Democrats beat the Republicans 11-2 in the friendly, but competitive, game. In a final flourish of bipartisan camaraderie for the night, Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, his team's manager, accepted the trophy, then gave it to his GOP counterpart, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, to put in Scalise's office on behalf of the Democrats. After accepting it gracefully, Barton cracked, "Next year we won't be so nice."
Scalise has previously played in the congressional game, and in previous years wore a variety of Louisiana jerseys.
[NATL] Shooting at GOP Congressional Baseball Practice in Va.
The Congressional Baseball Game for Charity dates back to 1909, and became popular enough by 1928 to be broadcast on the radio, according to a history of the game listed on a dedicated website. The Great Depression, World War II and some speakers of the House have intervened to cancel some games.
It is one of the most anticipated events of summer at the Capitol, with Democrats and Republicans splitting the 79 games that have been played over the years 39-39, with one tie. Democrats were on a winning streak for several years before the Republicans won the last game in a squeaker, 8-7.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.