Heath Shuler Finds He's Better at Bat Than Passing On Field
DENVER - Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), the highly paid but ill-fated former Redskins quarterback, may have redeemed himself with fans who wanted him run out of town. Shuler, who returned to Washington in January 2007 in the form of a congressman, went yard Tuesday at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies.
Lobbyists and others sitting in the stands at the "Day at Coors Field" sponsored by Microsoft and Eli Lilly were shocked when Shuler smacked a homerun with a nice crack of the bat over the left field fence. "I never thought I'd see that!" said one Washington lobbyist (and committed Skins fan) who witnessed the homer.
Of course, the elevation in the Mile High City makes Coors Field a notoriously hitter-friendly park, even for MLB players with low slugging percentages, or NFL quarterbacks with the worst pass completion records.
Shuler acknowledged as much. "With the air this thin and light we need to start playing the Congressional Baseball Game out there," he joked.
The North Carolina congressman was among a handful of members of Congress, including Reps. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), lobbyists and others who participated. The pitchers for the event were minor league players recruited by the event's lobbyist sponsors.
Shuler has a connection to Coors Field: Todd Helton, the all-star first baseman for the Rockies, was Shuler's backup quarterback at the University of Tennessee.
Asked whether the homerun-hitting Shuler now wishes he had played professional baseball instead of football, Shuler spokesman Andrew Whalen said, "No, his first love was football."
Mary Ann Akers
August 27, 2008; 5:20 PM ET
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