On Thursday, Democrats had their day in court, and then they had their night on the field, capping a day defined by predictions proven wrong with a crushing defeat of the Republican team.
After pulling out a win with the Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare, despite pundits (and inTrade) predicting the opposite outcome, Dems took to the field at Nationals Park for the 51st annual CQ-Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game to slaughter the Republicans, 18-5 - but not for the reason they predicted.
All week long, Democrats and Republicans alike named one player as the one to beat: Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., who played college ball and pitched spectacularly last season, was there to reprise his role on Thursday night.
"Cedric will keep us in the game," Dem Manager Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania predicted as the players warmed up on the field. Republican Manager Joe Barton of Texas expressed the same concern before the game, claiming that though "the Republicans have a better overall team, the Democrats have a better pitcher."
But as it turned out, the game didn't ride on Richmond's considerable arm after all.
It began with a friendly father-son first pitch from Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul to his son and ballplaying Sen. Rand Paul
Republicans made the first hit of the night in the bottom of the first off of Richmond, but immediately fell behind in the next inning. Despite having less than half as many players on their team, Democrats brought in run after run at the top of the second, beginning with Rep. Mark Critz, Pennsylvania, pinch running for Rep. Tim Bishop of New York, snatching the first run off of a hit by Colorado's Jared Polis.
Dems took three more runs before the Republicans switched pitcher Bill Johnson, Ohio, out for Tim Scott of South Carolina, but Scott wasn't able to stanch the Democratic flow, ceding seven more runs. That included one contested run, with Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter sliding to home to bring Democrats their seventh run only after Democratic outcry and an irate Doyle convinced the umpire he was safe.
Republicans managed only one run in the bottom of the second.
Though their players needed no encouragement, Democrats - perhaps in part spurred by the possibility of two big wins in one 24-hour period - sent taunts to the Republican side, at one point chanting "Justice Roberts," a reference to Chief Justice John Roberts, the Republican-appointed justice that sided with Democrats in the Supreme Court's health care decision.
Through the rest of the night, Republicans racked up four more runs. Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster made a notable hit in the bottom of the fourth down the third-base line for a double, bringing in the GOP's second run of the night and kicking off the most active inning for Republicans. Later in the fourth, Jeff Flake of Arizona hit a 3-2 pitch to bring two runners in, bringing the GOP score to four.
But they were unable to pull it out. Polis was one of four Dems to post a run in the fifth inning and bring Democrats up by 14 at the top of the fifth.
And by the end of the night, Doyle and his Democrats had fulfilled what he said had been their job from the get-go:
"Their [Republicans'] day started bad, and it's our job to make sure it ends bad." Though it was just a game of ball, Rep. Joe Baca, D-Calif., said it held some political weight for the Democrats, who "should've never gone through what [Republicans] put us through" with Thursday's contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder in the House.
"We should have never been involved in that, we should've been voting on the transportation bill, we should've been voting on the sequester, the college loans," Baca said of the day's legislative events.
But the evening's win made the day's slights a little easier to take.
"Oh yeah, it's sort of nice to rub it in a little bit," he admitted.
The game ran over two hours, at which point exhaustion had clearly set in, with the lawmakers posting zero runs collectively in the final two innings. With the window for legislating closing ahead of the July 4 recess, when they're expected to finalize a deal on a long overdue highway bill, both parties seemed eager to get some rest after a long game.
In advance of the likely partisan bickering over the specifics of the bill, however, Democrats and Republicans will enjoy a bipartisan moment in the ballpark after the game.
"Win or lose, we're gonna go upstairs after it's over and have a hotdog," Barton said.
Alex Gangitano contributed.
Photo: Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., pitches with great effect in the first inning against the Republicans. Richmond received numerous chants of MVP from the Democratic side of the stands. National Journal/Chet Susslin