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Democrats best Republicans in Congressional baseball

By Greg Clary, CNN
Congressional Democrats celebrate winning the 50th annual Congressional Baseball Game on Thursday.
Congressional Democrats celebrate winning the 50th annual Congressional Baseball Game on Thursday.
  • The Republicans fall to the Dems 8-2
  • Participants say the event helps improve relations
  • The event raised money for literacy and childrens charities in Washington

Washington (CNN) -- Democrats and Republicans squared off in the 50th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park Thursday night.

Unlike the midterm elections, the Republicans never led in this one, falling to the Democrats 8-2 in front of more than 7,000 people.

Freshmen Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-Louisiana, shone on the mound for the Democrats going five innings before giving up a hit.

"We gained 87 seats in the last election, they gained three but one of theirs is a pitcher from New Orleans, Cedric Richmond, who I do want to point out to Mr. Richmond that the Congressional salary is $175,000. The Major League minimum salary $350,000 and I know the owner of the Astros and the Texas Rangers," said Republican coach Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas.

While Democrats and Republicans were adversaries on the field, Democratic coach Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pennsylvania, says he hopes events like this can help make bipartisanship a little more likely on Capitol Hill.

"It gives us a chance to get to know one another and it helps a lot when you see someone on the floor that you played ball with, you have something else in common with them," Doyle said. "You're going to give them the benefit of the doubt and be a little bit more civil."

Barton agreed.

"It does, it honestly does help," Barton said. "We spend a lot of time on the floor talking baseball; that makes it easier when we do try to talk policy."

Congress played their first baseball game in 1909 with a few interruptions such as the Great Depression and World War II.

Ticket proceeds from this year's game raised more than $150,000 for The Washington Literacy Council and The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington.