Now playing
01:18
Rand Paul: It would have been a massacre
Now playing
03:44
Do the 1990s hold the key to sustainable websites?
Now playing
01:10
Watch SpaceX land its Mars rocket prototype for the first time
Now playing
05:52
The climate crisis is taking these farmers' most valuable resource
U.S. President Donald Trump works on his phone during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House June 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump held a roundtable discussion with Governors and small business owners on the reopening of American's small business. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump works on his phone during a roundtable at the State Dining Room of the White House June 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump held a roundtable discussion with Governors and small business owners on the reopening of American's small business. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:37
Facebook Oversight Board: Indefinite suspension of Trump's account is 'not appropriate'
Now playing
03:41
How technology at NASA helps guide Biden on climate
Now playing
01:42
A vaccine without needles? It's on the way
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 06:  Host Conan O'Brien speaks onstage during the 5th Annual NFL Honors at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on February 6, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 06: Host Conan O'Brien speaks onstage during the 5th Annual NFL Honors at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on February 6, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:48
Conan announces his last show after 30 years in late night
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Now playing
03:14
Will Trump be allowed back on Facebook? This board will decide
CNN
Now playing
05:16
WTF is a SPAC?
Now playing
01:51
A shortage of tanker truck drivers could cause stations to run out of gas
CEO at Verizon Media K. Guru Gowrappan appears at the 2019 Verizon Media NewFront on April 30, 2019 in New York City.
Noam Galai/Getty Images for Verizon Media
CEO at Verizon Media K. Guru Gowrappan appears at the 2019 Verizon Media NewFront on April 30, 2019 in New York City.
Now playing
02:47
Verizon sells off Yahoo and AOL
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, attends the 2019 annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, May 3, 2019. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, attends the 2019 annual shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, May 3, 2019. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:40
Warren Buffett warns on US inflation
Now playing
01:00
Astronauts splash down after record-setting mission
ATLANTA - APRIL 30:  A Boeing 757 with a new Delta Airlines logo sits on the tarmac following the company's emergence from bankruptcy at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport April 30,2007 in Atlanta, Georgia. The 757 sports new branding that will appear on more than 900 planes, at airports and on advertising.  (Photo by Barry Williams/Getty Images) 757
Barry Williams/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
ATLANTA - APRIL 30: A Boeing 757 with a new Delta Airlines logo sits on the tarmac following the company's emergence from bankruptcy at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport April 30,2007 in Atlanta, Georgia. The 757 sports new branding that will appear on more than 900 planes, at airports and on advertising. (Photo by Barry Williams/Getty Images) 757
Now playing
02:28
Why Delta airlines is resuming selling middle seats
Now playing
02:50
Grocery chain says 'hero pay' forcing them to close stores
(CNN) —  

For most people, their first thought upon hearing of the shootings at a baseball practice for Congressional Republicans went something like this: Why are members of Congress on a baseball diamond at 7 a.m. on a weekday?

The answer is the Congressional Baseball Game, a tradition among lawmakers going back to the early part of the 20th Century that in recent years has raised $600,000 for charity.

“It’s one of the best things we do,” Sen. Rand Paul, who was at the practice when the shooting broke out, told CNN Wednesday morning.

“Every year, with a few interruptions, Senate and House members of each party team up to settle scores and solidify friendships off the floor and on the field,” according to the game’s website. “Members usually sport the uniform of their home states and districts, and although proportional representation is not required, elected officials of many states play to win every year.”

In the run-up to the game, which is scheduled to be played tomorrow at Nationals Park, both sides – Republicans and Democrats – hold early-morning practices in neighborhoods around Washington.

“There’s not much scheduling going on up here at 6:30 in the morning, so in terms of practice, there’s no excuses,” freshman Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall, a Republican, told Roll Call in a preview piece on the game.

As news of the shooting at the Republican practice broke, Democrats were preparing to practice too. “Thoughts and prayers w my Republican baseball friends this morning,” tweeted Colorado Rep. Jared Polis. “Dem practice canceled holding in dugout w security.”

Reps. Cedric Richmond, the Louisiana Democrat, and Steve Scalise, the Louisiana Republican, play during the Republicans' 8-7 victory in 2016.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Group/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.
Reps. Cedric Richmond, the Louisiana Democrat, and Steve Scalise, the Louisiana Republican, play during the Republicans' 8-7 victory in 2016.

The game began in 1909, pushed by Rep. John Tener of Pennsylvania, who once played pro baseball for the Baltimore Orioles, among other teams. It continued, generally unbroken, until 1958 when Speaker Sam Rayburn ended it because the game had grown “too physical,” according to the game’s official website. Four years later, Speaker John McCormack re-started the game – and began its association with the Roll Call newspaper.

Over the past two decades, the game grew into a bigger and bigger deal. When I covered the game for Roll Call in the early 2000s – I attended the game as a fan several other times – it was played in Prince George’s County at the home of the Bowie Baysox. It moved to RFK Stadium in Washington, DC for a brief period in the 2000s. The game has been at Nationals Park since 2008.

These are generally lighthearted affairs, as CNN’s Chris Moody found when he attended back in 2015 and saw President Obama cheering against Paul, who was then just getting ready to mount a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

02:33 - Source: CNN
Rand Paul strikes out while Obama cheers

Democrats had dominated for years thanks to the golden arm of Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat. Republicans broke that streak in 2016 when they claimed an 8-7 victory.

Check out this piece from The Atlantic from 2013, “The fiercest battle in DC is on the baseball diamond.”