Ensign Affair Impacts GOP On the Diamond

How does the Republican Congressional baseball team spell relief? In the past, Republicans spelled it E-N-S-I-G-N. But for Wednesday's annual Congressional baseball game between Democrats and Republicans, the GOP bullpen will be a little short because of an A-F-F-A-I-R.

The admission of extramarital infidelity by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) is sidelining the Republicans' star relief pitcher for the game at Nationals Park, home of the Major League's Washington Nationals.

"He's not here. You'd think he'd fly back for the game," said Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), the Republican manager.

Ensign's started at least one game as pitcher for the Republicans. He was scheduled to work out of the bullpen Wednesday. But Ensign, one of only a few senators who play in the game, was known for his versatility on the diamond.

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) will start for the GOP. Reps. Adam Putnam (R-FL) and Duncan Hunter, Jr. (R-CA) will be available in relief for the Republicans.

"We'll certainly miss his athletic ability tonight," conceded Barton. "We hope he'll be back next year."

Democrats are favored in this year's contest after a long streak of wins by Republicans.