Amid all the partisan rancor of congressional politics, the softball league has for 37 years been a rare case of bipartisan civility, an opportunity for Democratic and Republican aides to sneak out of work a bit early and take the field in the name of the lawmaker, committee or federal agency they work for.
This year, the league will be missing something: a lot of the Republicans.
During the off-season, a group of Republican teams seceded from the league after accusing its Democratic commissioner, Gary Caruso, of running a socialist year-end playoff system that gives below-average teams an unfair chance to win the championship.
Now, I tend to be a pretty competitive guy myself (see the legendary/notorious Hat Toss), so I can understand how the juices get flowing and what not, but:
The congressional league is a relaxed affair: No umpires call balls and strikes, so batters don't have to swing until they get a pitch they like. Fields are open to the public, so most teams dispatch an intern or junior aide to reserve a field several hours before game time. And after games, teams often head to a bar to recap the game over chicken wings and pitchers of beer.I wonder how the intern/junior aide puts that on the ressie. I mean if you want to talk about lack of perspective, try this:
The league "is all about Softball Welfare -- aiding the weak by punishing the strong," the pitcher of one Republican team told Mr. Caruso in an email. "The commissioner has a long-standing policy of punishing success and rewarding failure. He's a Democrat. Waddya' expect?" read another email, from Gary Mahmoud, the coach of BoehnerLand, a team from the office of Republican Majority Leader John Boehner.It's fleeping rec league softball. If you want to practice your hidden ball tricks and take-out slide on the 2nd baseman to break up a double play, I'm pretty sure they have more appropriate outlets. These strike me as the same jackasses who held practices for their intramural basketball teams, and pressed for 40-minutes in a co-rec league.
And if you really want to get heavily involved in all this peen-waving, might I suggest something a little more formal and dare I say classy?