Baseball Holds Up Senate Legislation

National Journal

It's a beautiful day outside. There's no air conditioning in the congressional chambers. There's an important bill before the Legislature, but the game's on nearby. All things considered, it's hard to blame the Senators whose conduct in 1910 prompted this New York Times headline:

 

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(New York Times)

Sen. Nelson W. Aldrich, R-R.I., was not happy when he learned that his collegues' absence was delaying an important vote on President Taft's railroad bill. Sen. Stephen Elkins, R-W.Va., told him they had the numbers to pass, but not during a ballgame. Aldrich seemed confused about the extent of the baseball season, and got angry. Plus, the president of the Senate wasn't even there to answer his question—because he was at the ballpark.

Here's a question the Times reporter should have asked: Did anyone bother to invite Aldrich to the game? From the story:

Saturday afternoon Senator Elkins reported that he had suficient votes to defeat the Cummins substitute for the elkins-Crawford provision, which the Senators in charge of the bill want adopted.

 

"Then let's get a vote," urged Senator Aldrich.

 

"It wouldn't be safe this afternoon," said Mr. Elkins. "Too many Senators are attending the ball game."

 

"That would affect both sides, wouldn't it?" persisted Mr. Aldrich?.

 

"I don't know about that," replied Mr. Elkins. "It seems to be our fellows who are away."

 

"Do these baseball games keep on all Summer?"  asked Mr. Aldrich, in a grieved tone. Plainly, he did not know. Vice President Sherman or Senator Crane were at the ball grounds.

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