House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., was shot in the hip Wednesday morning as he practiced with colleagues for the annual congressional baseball game set to occur Thursday night in Washington. His office confirmed in a statement released after the shooting, during which five people sustained injuries that necessitated transportation to area hospitals, that Scalise is in stable condition and good spirits.
In a 2011 interview with Roll Call, Scalise discussed the annual game as an opportunity for bipartisan cameraderie. "In many cases," he said, "it's the only interaction we'll have with some of the Democrats we don't serve on committees with, so you really get to build relationships with people you'd otherwise not run into."
And in the aftermath of Wednesday's shooting, Washington Post reporter Robert Costa tweeted, "[Scalise] loves baseball and gave out bats to his supporters during his whip race." A New York Times writeup from 2015 described Scalise, set to play shortstop, as "easily the G.O.P.'s best offensive player." Another New York Times article the same year listed Scalise as one of the Republican team's two best players, reporting, "Mr. Scalise has only four plate appearances, but his batting line resembles Derek Jeter's in 1999, when he finished sixth in M.V.P. voting."
According a report in The Advocate, Scalise keeps a framed photograph of a triumphant moment from a previous game in his congressional office. "Then there's a framed photo of Scalise, wearing the uniform of his alma mater, Archbishop Rummel High School, and scoring on a wild pitch in the annual congressional baseball game by Democratic star pitcher Cedric Richmond," the article noted in a description of Scalise's office.
Scalise and Richmond, a Democratic representative from a neighboring district in Lousiania, had a friendly rivalry over the annual game. "Steve Scalise plays on the Republican side... We have neighboring districts, and we served in the Legislature together, so we're pretty competitive. I can't wait to get a chance to pitch against Steve," Richmond said in 2011, according to Roll Call.
Roll Call profiled Scalie's housing situation back in 2011, describing how he lived with three other members of the Republican baseball team who bonded over their mutual love for the game.
Joking with the press after his party lost the game in 2014, Scalise quipped, "We figured that we've taken the majority away from the Democrats. If we took this game away from them, they'd have absolutely nothing." The majority whip promised the GOP would be "bringing it" the following year.
He won't get a chance to bring it this year, sadly, but Scalise is expected to make a full recovery. Time will tell whether he's able to get back on the field and play the game he loves.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.