There were “mixed emotions” at Wednesday’s congressional GOP baseball practice a year after a gunman opened fire at the field, said Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Alabama.
“On the one hand, it was good to be with our comrades as we try to put together a baseball team to compete, hopefully, with the Democrats … and we raised over $1 million for local charities (last year). That’s the positive side,” Brooks said during an interview on CNN’s “New Day.” “The little adverse side was remembering on this same field, the last time we were there, five of our colleagues got shot.”
Last June, Republicans had gathered at the same field in Alexandria, Virginia, for an early morning practice for their upcoming annual charity baseball game against their Democratic colleagues when a shooter fired at least 70 rounds, wounding Rep. Steve Scalise and others.
Scalise, who is still recovering from his injuries and recently underwent another surgery, was not present for Wednesday’s practice.
“I was practicing at second base and the last time we had someone practicing at second base, he ended up getting shot and that will be a memory that is emblazoned in my brain,” Brooks said Wednesday, referring to Scalise.
“I’ll never forget it. That made it a little bit more difficult,” said Brooks, who dove into the dugout for cover.
“There’s no way to get around those mixed emotions but it was good to be back on the ballfield and overcoming those emotions to try to play baseball, which for a century now has been America’s pastime,” Brooks said. “So that was the very enjoyable part.”
Brooks said that with the passage of time, he doesn’t think about that day much, unless he’s on that ballfield or if someone asks him about it.
“I’m looking forward, not back,” the Alabama congressman said.
This year’s annual congressional baseball game is scheduled for June 14 at Nationals Park in Washington.