WASHINGTON (WJZ)– The Congressional Baseball Game went as scheduled, despite the attack on congressmen Wednesday morning as they practiced.
Historically the game brings an intense political rivalry onto the baseball field and this year was no different.
Players chose to carry on tradition in the face of tragedy.
This year, lawmakers turned baseball players, took the field in front of more fans than usual.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers knelt in a silent huddle on the baseball field to pray and then stood shoulder-to-shoulder for the National Anthem before the game, 36 hours after a gunman opened fire on the GOP team Wednesday morning in Alexandria, critically injuring House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others.
“He is one of the toughest competitors out there. One of the hardest workers,” said baseball writer Nathaniel Rakich.
Ticket sales for the annual Congressional Baseball Game were motivated by tragedy and inspired by unity.
Thursday night, one the Capitol police officers hurt during the shooting was hailed as a hero as he threw out the first pitch.
“I was the first person to buy a ticket this morning,” said Monica Goodman of Crofton.
“Just because I might disagree with him on policies, doesn’t mean I can’t feel compassionate,” Amanda Linton said.
“It could have been a lot worse and thankfully it wasn’t,” Chris Allen said.
For the 108th year, the game went on and the Democrats won.
Security was at its highest levels also.
Congressmen quickly decided the tradition would not be stopped by Wednesday’s attack on the GOP team.
It’s a visible reminder of the attack that’s bridged political parties, even as the game goes on.
Tickets raised money for local charities, including the Washington Boys and Girls Club, the Literacy Center and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.
In past years, the game has brought in more than $600,000.