For Rep. Steve Scalise, the Louisiana lawmaker shot during a congressional baseball practice in June, these past few weeks represent a hard-earned return to normalcy.
The congressman threw himself back into baseball Friday night with the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals playoff opener.
A bipartisan crowd welcomed him at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. with a standing ovation.
With the help of a walker, a crutch and very high spirits, the House Majority Whip walked onto the pitcher’s mound. He still receives outpatient rehabilitation for a gunshot wound that shattered his pelvis.
Before Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Nationals and Chicago Cubs, Rep. Scalise pitched the baseball to U.S. Capitol Police officer David Bailey.
Rep. Scalise calls Bailey his hero for exchanging gunfire with James T. Hodgkinson, the 66-year-old attacker, and saving his life.
Congressional staffer Zach Barth and lobbyist Matt Mika were also among those injured in the June attack and were honored at Friday night’s game.
Rep. Scalise shared the special moment on Twitter.
“What a memorable birthday! I threw the first pitch at tonight’s @Nationals vs. @Cubs #NLDS game!” he wrote. Rep. Scalise celebrated his 52nd birthday, a number he feared he would not reach after the June attack.
Friday's standing ovation makes the second, long round of applause for Rep. Scalise in less than a week. On September 28, he received a bipartisan welcome back to the House of Representatives.