WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSNewYork) — Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) will play baseball Thursday night against the Democrats, exactly one year after he was shot during a practice and almost died. The House’s No. 3 Republican has endured more than nine surgeries to repair internal organs and install steel plates.
The 52-year old congressman will be wearing a US Capitol Police ball cap at the game in honor of the two officers who returned fire after the Republican congressman along with four others were shot at the GOP practice a year ago in Alexandria, Virginia.
The third-ranking House Republican leader still walks with crutches or a cane, but will, nevertheless, be a starter at second base for the game at Nationals Park.
For his teammates, the fact that Scalise can play at all is a miracle.
“It is so good,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH). “It’s so good to see him out here.”
Scalise has been relearning how to play the same way he relearned how to walk, but his mobility is still limited.
“It’s better than it was a few weeks ago, but if the ball’s a few feet away from me it’s not too easy to get to,” said Scalise.
The Louisiana lawmaker was considered his team’s best player and his recovery has been celebrated by both sides of the aisle. Democratic players set aside a century-old rivalry last week and welcomed Scalise to their practice, but the stepped-up police presence was hard to miss.
When asked if he thinks anything has changed in the past year that would make Americans safer from gun violence, Scalise said more discussions have been brought to national attention.
“You know this event was unique, I mean, you see mental illness becoming a bigger focus, which I think is a good thing,” Scalise said.
But on Thursday night, politics takes a back seat to pitching and the fulfillment of a yearlong goal for Scalise. Still, Scalise isn’t so sure the Democrats are going to go easy on them.
“I’d like to think that, but I think that’s where the civility ends – on the baseball field,” Scalise said.
While Scalise said he’s itching to get back on the field, his children will be cheering dad on from home. Seeing their dad on a baseball field is still a bit too emotional.