In politics there are winners and there are losers but identifying who falls on which side of that equation is always subjective. That won’t be the case Thursday when Connecticut Democrats square off against the state’s Republicans in what’s sure to be an epic softball game.
Elected officials, staffers and Connecticut activists from the right and the left will take to the softball diamond at Mill Woods Park in Wethersfield from 6 to 10 p.m. to raise money for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
Rep. Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, will be managing the Dems’ team. His roster includes Reps. James Albis of East Haven, David Kiner of Enfield, Michelle Cook of Torrington, Roland Lemar of New Haven, and Jason Rojas of East Hartford.
They’ll go head-to-head with Rep. Sean Williams’ Republican line up, which includes Reps. Chris Davis of Ellington, and Rob Sampson of Wolcott.
Before the game, Ritter was confident despite some concerns about his bullpen.
“The Democratic team is feeling good and if we can find a pitcher between now and Thursday night that would definitely help the cause. I am still waiting to hear whether Jon Lester is willing to toss a few innings for us. Most importantly of course, this game is for a great cause and helps to highlight the incredible work that doctors and nurses do every day at CCMC,” he said.
Williams was focusing on offense.
“The trade deadline may be of concern to the Democrats but for the Republican all-stars, we’ve got a home grown team of sluggers who are happy to get together for such a great cause,” he said.
And the Fourth Estate will be there to keep them honest. Four members of the press, including CTNewsJunkie’s own Christine Stuart, will serve as umpires for the game. Also umping: Daniela Altimari of the Hartford Courant, Sue Haigh of the Associated Press, and Ken Dixon of the Connecticut Post.
“Anything close and the runner’s safe,” said Dixon, who will have his eye on first base.
Office of Fiscal Analysis staffers Neil Ayers and Rob Wysock will also be umpiring.
To kick things off, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Wethersfield Mayor Donna Hemmann will throw out the opening pitches
WFSB Sports Director Joe Zone will be calling play-by-play from the field. When the game is over WTIC-FOX Connecticut’s Laurie Perez will host a post-game ceremony and dole out trophies.
The game will also feature special musical talent. The governor’s non-profit liaison and former state rep. Deb Heinrich will sing the National Anthem before the game. During the mid-game stretch, legislative aide Brie Johnston will sing “God Bless America,” followed by House Republican Caucus aide Maureen Urso, who will sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Martin Gavin applauded the effort to raise money for the hospital.
“In the midst of partisan gridlock, it’s heartening to know that the two parties are willing to put politics aside for the sake of a good cause,” he said. “I hope the people of Connecticut take notice that we are fortunate to have strong leadership in these trying times.”