Last Night in Washington, Republicans Needed More than "Candlesticks" from Joe Barton

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With Arlington's own Rep. Joe Barton at the helm last night, the Republicans suffered a tough defeat in Washington, out-fielded and out-hit 15-10 by Democrats in the annual Congressional Baseball Game.

Barton, a 22-year veteran of the annual game, wore a Rangers jersey with the No. 6 (his congressional district, sure, but he was always such a big German Duran fan) on the way to his first loss in three years managing the team.

Barton began his managerial career coaching Little League, but told Roll Call he won't shy away from talking trash to his House-mates, nor can he deny the power of a well-timed Bull Durham quote.

Which has us wondering, maybe more than we should, about Barton's thoughts on the designated hitter, Astroturf, and the small of a woman's back.

The final at Nationals Park was the first GOP loss in eight years, and made a small dent in their overall lead -- Republicans have won 33 of 48 games since it was resuscitated in 1962. (The first game was played 100 years ago.)

With four official errors in the game, Barton's GOP squad struggled with the fundamentals and communication on the field, and weren't helped by a disappointing performance from highly touted Freshman Duncan Hunter, an Iraq veteran who struck an imposing presence in a San Diego Padres camo uniform. (One sign they should've quit selling beer in the fifth inning: the Republican staffer who yelled "Waterboard 'em, Duncan!" in the final at-bat.)

With a few thousand in the stands, many of them Congressional staffers, it was also probably one of the only times girls have tripped over seats in a ballpark for a look at John Boehner.

Plenty of wonkish inside jokes made their way from the crowd to the field, but the Dems in the third-base stands saved the most stinging, obvious one for the end, chanting "Yes we can!" with the Republicans down to their last out and Hunter at the plate. He struck out looking.

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