Congressional baseball game 2012: Political wounds still fresh

  • Coaches for the Democratic and Republican teams touch base before the 2012 congressional baseball game Thursday. CBS News

    (CBS News) WASHINGTON, D.C. - Partisanship wasn't left at the door - or more aptly, the diamond edge - Thursday night as dozens of members of Congress capped off one of the most politically charged days in recent history with a final showdown between Republicans and Democrats at the 51st annual CQ-Roll Call congressional baseball game, held at Nationals Park.

    The Democrats trounced the Republicans, 18-5, despite Republicans having won more games in the past. But even several hours of playing America's favorite pastime for charity weren't enough to nurse the fresh wounds from a day that began and ended with controversial and unprecedented government actions.

    In the Democrats' fan section, 17 posters spelled out "MVP Justice Roberts," homage from the left to their newfound hero, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., whose opinion earlier in the day largely upheld President Obama's health care law as constitutional. Meanwhile, Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., lamented wasted time due to the second big news of the day, the House's vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over matters relating to operation Fast and Furious.

    Watch highlights from the game in the video to the left.

    Asked whether the timing of this year's game made Democrats' win particularly satisfying, Baca, who had just accepted a large trophy cup with his teammates, gave a lukewarm response.

    "Well, yeah, in one sense it does, but this is only off of the Capitol," he said. "So once we get back there, back in trenches - it's too bad what we're going through, what we went through today. We should have never gone through what they put us through."

    Still, he added, "it's sort of nice to rub it in a little bit."

    Other, more ranking members of Congress made appearances in the crowd. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. - who had hours earlier walked off the House floor in protest after Holder's contempt vote led by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio - posed for photographs above the Democratic bullpen; Boehner, meanwhile, milled about his own section.

    The big draw, though, was Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who was announced at the start of the game as the newest inductee into the league's hall of fame. Signs in the crowd included, "Take me out to the PAUL game!"

    Watch Paul's induction and first pitch in the video to the left.

    Sporting the same retro, neon-orange Astros jersey he wore when he hit his famous 1979 home run, the retiring congressman sheepishly accepted his plaque. After tossing the first pitch of the game to his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., the elder Paul took a seat in the stands, though his wife Carol told reporters he'd like to still play.

    "How many people can wear the same set of clothes 30 years later?" Rand Paul said of his dad before the game. "Some people outgrow their clothes, and he hasn't. Reagan said, 'Paint in bold colors, not pastels.'"

    Rand Paul also brought some lighthearted politics to the field: "You know the Democrats believe in a lot of regulations, right? And so we came forward with a new regulation for them this year, but they won't agree to it. We thought that there ought to be a new rule saying you can only pitch two innings, one individual can only pitch two innings. Because you know, their pitcher's kind of good," Paul joked, referring to Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La.

    Money raised by the event will go toward the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, and the Washington Literacy Center.

  • Lindsey Boerma On Twitter»

    Lindsey Boerma is senior video producer for CBSNews.com.

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