September 2, 2014

Elyria
Rain
69°F
test

Red vs. blue on ball diamond

View a slideshow from the game

LORAIN — Politics can be a dirty business, and Saturday was no different as Democrats and Republicans battled on the ball field.

This time, though, everyone agreed it was all in good fun.

The friendly competition was organized by Lorain County Commissioner Tom Williams, a Republican, and Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer, a Democrat. The teams — Democrats clad in blue, and Republicans in red — took the field at The Pipe Yard in Lorain despite heavy rainfall earlier.

The softball game was to help raise money for the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio, with the $5 admission going toward the agency. The rainfall made turnout at the event sparse, however.

Williams said he and Ritenauer are working to have another game, possibly in August, however.

The men, both avid baseball fans, used to play Wiffle ball together as children. Williams said the two believed the event could help a good cause, as well as exhibit camaraderie between the political parties.

“At the local level, it really shouldn’t matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican,” he said. “It should matter about getting stuff done for the county and the people.”

Ritenauer said he hopes the tradition will continue so that representatives can raise money for various local organizations.

“Certainly, there are some political differences… but it’s good to have fun and put some of the political differences aside,” he said.

Williams agreed, although his team failed to match up to the Democratic powerhouse, resulting in a final score of 31-18 loss.

“I’m going to say it was because of my generous pitching,” Williams said of his loss, laughing.

Ritenauer’s team, who took the time to organize a batting practice prior to the event, threw jabs at Williams’ team during the game, and Williams and his teammates joked back.

Chronicle-Telegram Editor Andy Young, who served as an umpire for the game, was also taunted for his choice of attire — a blue-colored shirt that Republicans said appeared biased.

“He’s wearing blue, so you gotta watch him,” said a Republican player, who laughed from the dugout after Young mistakenly referred to a strike as a ball.

“We were just making fun of the stereotypes you hear sometimes,” Williams said, adding that the comments were all in good fun.

Grafton Township Fire Chief Bob Richards perhaps summarized the game best after walking off the field.

“There are no losers. This is for the community,” he said.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.