Climate protesters vow to disrupt Congressional Baseball Game (2024)

As climate protesters vow to blockade and shut down the Congressional Baseball Game on Wednesday night, at least one lawmaker said he wasn’t worried.

Rep. Roger Williams coached the Republican team to victory last year and is hoping for a repeat. Asked whether the protest was on his radar, the Texan said, “It’s on the stupid radar. I mean, why would an environmentalist not like a baseball game? Baseball is played on grass and dirt. What’s wrong with that?”

The annual game, which raises money for local charities, pits Republican and Democratic members of Congress against one another at Nationals Park.

“The Congressional Baseball Game is a useful symbolic target,” said Evan Drukker-Schardl, an organizer with a group called Climate Defiance, which formed in 2023 and wants to end government support for fossil fuels. “Congress is literally playing games while subsidizing the fossil fuel engine industry.”

Climate Defiance has been planning the action for months, announcing in April, “We will shut it down.” Drukker-Schardl said he expects hundreds of protesters to attend, although he wouldn’t elaborate on what exactly they would do. It’s the same group, composed largely of college students and recent graduates, that interrupted the Congressional Women’s Softball Game last year for more than 10 minutes, to the annoyance of players and commentators.

“It’s a tight-knit club in Washington, and the people left out are all of us who are facing global catastrophe,” Drukker-Schardl said. “It’s unconscionable that most members of Congress are focused more on enriching their corporate lobbyist friends than they are on saving us from rising sea levels and rising temperatures and cataclysmic storms.”

A different collection of activists targeted the baseball game in 2022, with some unfurling banners and dropping leaflets in the stands. A few were arrested outside Nationals Park as they tried to stop fans from entering.

A Capitol Police spokesperson said the department is aware of the protest planned for this year and is partnering with the Metropolitan Police and Washington Nationals security for the game. The summer tradition has drawn more scrutiny since 2017, when a gunman opened fire on Republicans who had gathered for an early morning practice.

Ryan Thompson, president of Congressional Sports for Charity, said he’s confident the game will go off without a hitch and more than $2 million has already been raised, up from around $1.8 million last year. The foundation provides grants to local groups that serve families and children, such as the Washington Literacy Center.

“We live in a free country, and they have every right to exercise their First Amendment rights,” Thompson said of the protesters. “But the Capitol Police and federal law enforcement are definitely tracking any threats to the game. It’s a high-profile event … so they’re hyper-diligent.”

Some lawmakers preparing for the game said they were sympathetic to Climate Defiance’s cause but objected to its methods.

“They’re trying to elevate an issue, but it’s really not the right venue or forum to do it, to be honest. This is a charity game. It’s a family event. We are trying to do something good for the community,” said California Rep. Linda T. Sánchez, a coach for the Democratic team.

Sánchez said she believes more should be done to combat global warming.

“I just don’t think that disrupting the game really endears people to the issue that these protesters are very passionate about,” Sánchez said.

Four in a row?

Sánchez and the Democrats have more than protests to worry about — they’re trying to save face after three straight losses. Although she didn’t make any grand predictions, Sánchez, who grew up playing fastpitch softball in Anaheim and is a Dodgers fan, said the team is looking better this time around.

“Last year was kind of a rebuilding year. We had a lot of new freshmen members that came out for the team, and I didn’t know exactly where their skill sets were,” Sánchez said. “So now having seen them for one game, we had a better idea of where to place people. And they’re looking pretty good.”

She said to look out for Reps. Jimmy Panetta and Kevin Mullin, both from California, in the outfield. Reps. Pete Aguilar, another Californian and chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and Morgan McGarvey of Kentucky are solid utility players, and Chris Deluzio of Pennsylvania can both pitch and hit. And the team has Rep. Greg Casar, the Texan who took the title of “fastest man in Congress” at this year’s ACLI challenge.

“He’s going to be pinch running, so we expect a lot of stolen bases this year,” Sánchez said.

And they’ll need it.

The Democrats got blanked in 2022 but rebounded slightly last year, scoring six runs. Unfortunately for them, the Republicans’ bats were hotter and the GOP topped them easily, notching 16 runs along the way.

Much of that offensive firepower came from Missouri Sen. Eric Schmitt, who played his first Congressional Baseball Game last year. Schmitt hit a triple in the third inning of last year’s game that drove in three runs and broke the contest open.

This year, he says he’s back and better than ever.

“I’ve been working out more,” said Schmitt, the former Missouri attorney general who played football and baseball in college. “I’ve dropped a few pounds to get in fighting shape.”

Both teams have been practicing in the early mornings for months when Congress is in session. According to Williams, a former college and minor league baseball player and former college coach, the team has been working out from 5:30 to 7:15 a.m. most days of the week.

“Frankly, I run it like we’d run spring training or any other professional major league workout,” Williams said. “And our guys have gotten to where they know what to do without even being told.”

For Williams, winning the Congressional Baseball Game is all about the basics. On defense, that means keeping the ball in front and hitting the cutoff man. At bat it means putting the ball in play. And on the mound, throwing strikes.

Like Sánchez, he refrained from making any predictions. But he sounded confident.

“We were really good last year,” Williams said. “We’re better this year.”

Climate protesters vow to disrupt Congressional Baseball Game (2024)


What happened at the Congressional Baseball Game? ›

On June 12, climate protesters were tackled to the ground by police after they ran onto the Nationals Park field during the annual Congressional Baseball Game.

Who won the Congressional Baseball Game, Republicans or Democrats? ›

Climate protesters disrupt congressional baseball game, Republicans have 31-11 decisive victory - CBS News.

What charity is the Congressional Baseball Game for? ›

The charity game raises money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Washington Literacy Center and the Nationals Philanthropies, the charitable arm of the Washington Nationals.

What does it mean to play under protest? ›

If the umpire is convinced that the decision is in conflict with the rules, the umpire shall reverse that decision. If, however, after consultation, the umpire is convinced that the decision is not in conflict with the rules, said umpire shall announce that the game is being played under protest.

Has anyone hit a homerun in the Congressional Baseball Game? ›

In 1979, Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas hit what is believed to be the first home run hit over the fence. Reps. John Shimkus of Illinois and Greg Steube of Florida are the only other players to hit out-of-the-park home runs, doing so in 1997 and 2021, respectively.

Can you still protest a baseball game? ›

"Protesting a game shall never be permitted, regardless of whether such complaint is based on judgment decisions by the umpire or an allegation that an umpire misapplied these rules or otherwise rendered a decision in violation of these rules."

What was the score of the 2024 Congressional Baseball Game? ›

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) competed in the annual Congressional Baseball Game. The GOP team defended their champion title for the fourth year in a row and routed Democrats 31-11 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

Where can I watch the Congressional Baseball Game in 2024? ›

The Congressional Baseball Game will be played at Nationals Park, home of the MLB's Washington Nationals, in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, D.C. — less than two miles away from the U.S. Capitol Building. The ballgame is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. EDT. It will be televised by both C-SPAN and FS1.

What time is the Congressional Baseball Game tonight? ›

Remember: First pitch is at 7:05 PM! We are officially ONE WEEK away from the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. Remember: First pitch is at 7:05 PM!

How many years has the Congressional Baseball Game been played? ›

The Congressional Baseball Game began in 1909. Democrats won the inaugural game and the next five. They've been winless since 2019, though. The 2020 game was called off during the pandemic.

Why is God bless America played at baseball games? ›

Since 18 September 2001—when Major League baseball returned after the terror attacks—the song “God Bless America” has pushed aside “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as the new seventh-inning tradition. For the first few months, who could object? It provided catharsis and comfort—a way for Americans to grieve together.

What baseball players help the community? ›

With that in mind, here's a rundown of some of Major League Baseball's top philanthropic players.
  • Ozzie Abies. ...
  • Gerrit Cole. ...
  • Kyle Tucker. ...
  • Juan Soto. ...
  • Eduardo Escobar. ...
  • Freddie Freeman. ...
  • Hanser Alberto.
Mar 22, 2022

Has protesting a game ever worked? ›

A successful game protest has only happened six times in NBA history.

Has an MLB game ever been protested? ›

Most major league baseball games that are protested or suspended do not result in unusual situations. Actually, until 1943, suspended/successfully protested games were very rare: there were only five such games from 1876 through 1942. Since then, there have been 153 such games.

Is protesting a right? ›

The First Amendment protects your right to assemble and express your views through protest. However, police and other government officials are allowed to place certain narrow restrictions on the exercise of speech rights.

What happened to the Washington Senators baseball team? ›

The Senators moved and were replaced with an expansion Senators team for 1961. The old Washington Senators became the new Minnesota Twins; the expansion Senators would become the Texas Rangers in 1972, and baseball would not return to the city until 2005, when the former Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals.

How many people attended the Congressional Baseball Game? ›

Recipients include the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington; the Washington Literacy Center; and the Washington Nationals Philanthropies, which renovates baseball and softball fields in the region. The 30,000 paid attendance was also a record.

Why did people play baseball during the Civil War? ›

During the war, baseball served an important role in American culture. On the home front in northern cities, it remained a popular leisure activity that entertained the masses. On the front lines, baseball became an important diversion for the more than three million Americans serving in uniform on both sides.

What was the special baseball game held in New York? ›

The Tri-Cornered Baseball Game was a three-way exhibition baseball game held at the Polo Grounds on June 26, 1944, among the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and New York Yankees.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kerri Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 5867

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kerri Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1992-10-31

Address: Suite 878 3699 Chantelle Roads, Colebury, NC 68599

Phone: +6111989609516

Job: Chief Farming Manager

Hobby: Mycology, Stone skipping, Dowsing, Whittling, Taxidermy, Sand art, Roller skating

Introduction: My name is Kerri Lueilwitz, I am a courageous, gentle, quaint, thankful, outstanding, brave, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.