C-SPAN Gets Assist on Congressional Baseball Game

MLB providing video feed for public affairs network's live coverage

WASHINGTON -- C-SPAN has confirmed it will be carrying tonight's Congressional Baseball Game for Charity from Nationals Park here, starting at 7 p.m., with an assist from Major League Baseball.

C-SPAN actually covered the game for a couple of years in 1982 and 1983, but that was when the game was played in a park in Arlington, Va., rather than in a full-sized Major League stadium.

The public affairs network has over the years shown some of the sights and sounds surrounding the annual game as a part of its regular coverage of Hill doings, a C-SPAN spokesperson said, including when the winners’ trophy is brandished and the pre-game teasing and comradery. In addition, both teams have come on Washington Journal to talk about the game, which is an annual chance for legislators to drop the (boxing) gloves and don (baseball) gloves.

Why the hiatus between the early 80s coverage and today, besides the move to a new stadium? There is not a lot of public policy in the game, and C-SPAN's skilled camerafolk are not trained as sports videographers.

But given the increased importance of the game in the wake of the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and others at a Republican practice for the game -- and the pledge by both sides that the game would go on as a show of solidarity -- C-SPAN decided it made sense to take itself out to the ball game once again.

In a moment of coverage unity to match the political comity, Major League Baseball -- with cameras designed to cover sports and not legislators' faces at a distance of eight feet or so -- is making a feed available to C-SPAN, according to the public affairs net. Audio will be provided by Federal News Radio play-by-play, which will overlay the MLB video.

C-SPAN spokesman Peter Kiley said it was "terrific" of MLB to step in and help out.

Republican team coach Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), chairman emeritus of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, had signaled that C-SPAN would be covering the event, which is looking to raise north of a half-million dollars for charity.