California lawmakers gathered Wednesday night for the annual legislative softball game, but this year’s game was this a little unusual.
There were hot dogs, beers, bats and balls — all staples of America’s slow-pitch pastime.
There was also something new: bipartisanship.
Instead of Democrats versus Republicans, like in previous years, the two teams were a mix of party affiliations: the Waves versus the Grizzlies.
“We just wanted to break it up a little bit, try something new,” said Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, who captained the Waves. “Get a little bipartisan action going on. We need more of that in our government, and certainly on the softball field it’s helpful.”
But bipartisanship may not be the only reason for the mixed teams.
“There are so few Republicans” in the Legislature, said GOP Assemblyman Tom Lackey. “It’s quite an imbalance.”
He says the party would have had a hard time fielding a full team.
It’s a reflection of politics at large in California, as traditionally red districts, like Orange County, are turning blue.
But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a strong sense of competition between these politically mixed teams.
“I’m sure every once in a while you’ll hear somebody yell from the batter’s box, ‘If you get this your bill is dead in such-and-such committee or on the floor,” said Democratic Assemblyman and Grizzlies captain Ian Calderon before the game. “But you know, it’s all part of the fun.”
The Grizzlies beat the Waves 24-22 after a late rally.