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Jun 22, 2009 5:19 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Bishop named co-MVP of congressional baseball game

Jun 22, 2009 5:19 PM

U.S. Representative Tim Bishop was the star of the day for the Democrats in the annual Congressional Baseball Game played in Washington D.C. on June 17.

Bishop was named a co-Most Valuable Player in the game, which features members of Congress in a Republicans versus Democrats format. Bishop, 59, went 2 for 2 with a walk and hit a two-run double in the bottom of the second inning to bring home the first two runs of the day for his team. Bishop also made several plays in the field as the Democrats’ third baseman. The game took place at the Washington Nationals’ stadium for the second year in a row.

The Democrats won 15-10 and it was their first victory over the Republicans since 2000.

Bishop was later featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top Plays. The congressman represented the 1st Congressional District by wearing the uniform of the Stony Brook University Seawolves.

Bishop has played in the game in every year of its existence, which dates back to 2003, but he said that his performance in this year’s game was probably his best to date.

“I would say it was my best game,” he said during a telephone interview. “I had another game earlier in the series, I think maybe in 2004, where I had two hits, but this was the best game in terms of the hits having an impact. It was very nice to play in this game.”

While the congressman said he enjoyed playing well, he said that individual accolades were secondary to his other reasons for participating in the game year after year. The event raised more than $100,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington as well as the Washington Literacy Council.

“It was for a very good cause,” Bishop said. “We want to raise money for those two projects, and we want to have fun.”

Bishop added that the game is also a great way for politicians on both sides of the political spectrum to get to know each other and have a little fun.

“It’s a great source of camaraderie among the Democrats and Republicans,” Bishop said. “It’s something we very badly need more of.”

According to Bishop, the players do take the game seriously and spent plenty of time getting ready to face the crowd of more than 6,000 people who came to watch them on June 17. Since mid-April, members of both teams practiced daily at 7 a.m. with the help of various Capitol Hill staffers who have some level of baseball experience and knowledge, from their playing days either in high school and/or college. U.S. Representative Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania was the manager for the Democrats team while U.S. Representative Joe Barton of Texas skippered the Republicans.

“We have people who can help us with various drills and so on,” Bishop said. “We are all people for whom baseball has been a part of our lives, so it’s just fun to be able to keep playing it.”

Bishop, a 1968 graduate of Southampton High School, played two years of junior varsity and two years of varsity baseball for the Mariners, but said that until the inaugural Congressional game in 2000, he hadn’t played hardball since he was a teenager. After graduating from high school, however, Bishop’s love for the sport did not fade, as he competed in men’s softball leagues when he was in his 20s and 30s. Before running for Congress, Bishop played in a Southampton Town men’s softball recreational league.

“I’ve always been involved in one way or another, mostly with softball,” Bishop said, adding that he likes to stay active in general and also plays tennis on a regular basis.

In addition to playing in the congressional game, Bishop and several other congressmen usually compete once a year in a hardball game against a different service academy, such as the Coast Guard or Merchant Marines. Bishop said the game won’t be taking place this year, but he typically enjoys it as another chance to play his favorite sport for a good cause.

The congressman may be accustomed to pressure in his line of work, but that didn’t stop him from having nerves when he stepped onto the Major League ball field for the congressional game this year.

“For every kid who played baseball, it’s a dream to play in a Major League park,” Bishop said. “There’s nothing not to like about that. There is some nervousness because we do this once a year, so the chances of us making fools of ourselves are fairly high. We all want to do well and we all want to be competitive and win.”

Bishop’s spot on SportsCenter can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJn8akB1ULM.

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With third baseman A-Rod batting .229, maybe the Yankees can use him?
By Mr Suffolk (113), Twin Forks on Jun 19, 09 4:03 PM
Way to go congressman!! We are proud of you.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jun 19, 09 4:36 PM
Oh I was wondering what he has been doing all this time in Washington...playing baseball.
By UNITED states CITIZEN (207), SOUTHAMPTON on Jun 19, 09 7:59 PM
You did read that it was a fund raiser for children.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jun 19, 09 11:28 PM
So he is finally recognized for what he is........ Most Valuable PUTZ!
By G (342), Southampton on Jul 1, 09 2:47 PM