C-SPAN Gets Assist on Congressional Baseball Game

C-SPAN has confirmed it will be carrying Thursday's congressional baseball game from Nationals Park starting at 7 p.m., with an assist from Major League Baseball.

C-SPAN actually covered the game for a couple of years—1982 and 83—but that was when it was in a park in Arlington, Va., rather than in a full-sized MLB stadium.

It has over the years shown some of the sights and sounds surrounding a game as a part of its regular coverage of Hill doings, said a C-SPAN spokesperson, including when the winners’ trophy is brandished, the pre-game teasing and comradery. In addition, both teams have come on Washington Journal to talk about the game, which is annually a chance to drop the gloves (boxing) and don the gloves (baseball).

Why the hiatus between the early 80s coverage and now, besides the move to a new stadium? There is not a lot of public policy in the game, and C-SPAN's skilled camerafolk are not trained as sports videographers.

But given the increased importance of the game in the wake of the shooting of House majority whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and others at a Republican practice for the game—and the pledge by both sides that the game would go on as a show of solidarity—C-SPAN decided it made sense to take itself out to the ball game once again.

In a moment of coverage unity to match the political comity, Major League Baseball—whose cameras are designed to cover sports and not legislators' faces at a distance of eight feet or so—is making a feed available to C-SPAN, according to the public affairs net. Audio will be provided by Federal News Radio play-by-play, which will overlay the MLB video.

C-SPAN spokesman Peter Kiley said it was "terrific" of MLB to step in and help out.

Republican team coach Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), chairman emeritus of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, had signaled that C-SPAN would be covering the event, which is looking to raise north of a half-million dollars for charity.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.