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SGMA Plays Prominent Role in Congressional Baseball Game

Date: 7/6/10

SGMA-Provided Equipment Lends a Helping Hand to This Year’s Event

SILVER SPRING, MD – July 6, 2010 -- The 49th Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game on June 29th was a closely contested affair until the Democrats used a nine-run seventh-inning rally to outscore the Republicans, 13-5.  In the end, too many errors by the GOP proved costly.  This was the second straight victory for the Democrats.  Despite the defeat, the Republicans still lead the overall series, 33-16.  

This annual game raises money for two local charities:  the Washington Literacy Council and the Greater Washington Boys & Girls Clubs.  A crowd of 5,023 supported the charities by attending the game played at Nationals Park, the home of the Washington Nationals.  

Equipment used by both teams – in the game and during practices leading up to the big event – was donated by SGMA members Diamond Sports, Easton-Bell, Hillerich & Bradsby, Mizuno USA, Nike, Reebok and the Wilson Sporting Goods Company.   The baseball equipment will be donated to the Washington Boys & Girls Clubs and Washington, D.C. Public Schools to help increase youth participation in baseball in the D.C. area.

“SGMA is proud to support worthy causes through Congressional sports.  It’s a way to enhance the industry’s image and encourage physical activity,” said Bill Sells, SGMA’s vice president of governmental relations.  “SGMA is also involved with the Congressional Football Game to raise money for the Capitol Hill Police Memorial Fund.”

Last year proved to be a seminal year for the Democrats, as they snapped their eight-year losing streak, defeating the Republicans and earning bragging rights on the baseball diamond for the next 12 months.  This year, the Republicans were ready to turn the tide.  The GOP took the lead in the first inning when Rep. Kevin Brady (TX) stroked a single to left which scored Rep. Jeff Flake (AZ) from second base.  The Democrats tied the game in the third inning, when pinch runner Rep. Patrick Murphy (PA) scored from third on a wild pitch by Republican starter Rep. John Shimkus (IL). In the fourth inning, the Democrats took a 3-1 lead when Rep. Erik Paulsen’s (MN) misplay of a fly ball off the bat of Rep. John Inslee (WA) resulted in two runs for the Democrats.  The Republicans eventually battled back to tie the game at four, but then came the Democrats’ big rally in the top of the seventh inning.  The GOP’s effort was marred by fielding miscues and aggressive base running by the Democrats. Republican catcher Rep. Todd Platts (PA) attempted to pickoff Rep. Anthony Weiner (NY), but when the ball was mishandled at third base by Rep. Jeff Flake (AZ), Weiner dashed home for the go-ahead run giving the Democrats the lead for good.  The Republicans did load the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but scored just one run -- too little, too late for the GOP. 

The leading hitters for the Democrats were Rep. Steve Driehaus (OH) who was 2-for-2 with two RBIs; Rep. Bart Stupak (MI) was 2-for-4; Rep. John Boccieri (OH) was 2-for 4 with two runs scored; and Brian Baird (WA) was 2-for-4 with two RBIs. 

On the Republican side, the top hitters were Sen. John Ensign (NV) who was 3-for-4 and scored a run and Rep. Bill Shuster (PA) who had two hits and one RBI. 

Both starting pitchers, Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) and Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) pitched complete games.  Baca stuck out seven Republicans, surrendered nine hits, and gave up four earned runs.  Shimkus registered four strikeouts and gave up five earned runs.

As a team, the Democrats made four errors and the GOP had eight errors.

While the game is always competitive, the camaraderie among the political rivals remains strong.  The scoreboard may signal a winner and a loser, but the teams genuinely feel that everybody wins when Congress can raise money for such worthy causes.  Democrat Coach Rep. Mike Doyle (PA) emphasized this point, “We help two good charities and it’s great fun.  Most of the guys that play on the baseball teams are friends, Democrats and Republicans.”  Republican Coach Rep. Joe Barton (TX) echoed Doyle’s comments, “The Congress works well when there is camaraderie among members.  Whenever we can come together for sporting events like this and raise money for charity, it’s a good thing.”   

Click here to view photos from the game.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by fostering participation through research, thought leadership, product promotion, and public policy.  More information about SGMA membership and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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