Politics & Government

House honors Fresno State's champion baseball team

WASHINGTON -- The House on Tuesday barked its approval for the Fresno State Bulldogs, with passage of a resolution honoring the university's national champion baseball team.

Putting party labels aside, for the moment, lawmakers unanimously approved the resolution following a 15-minute debate that was both short and sweet.

"Go 'Dogs!" whooped Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno.

The resolution offers congressional congratulations and declares that the team "concluded an unprecedented season and championship that captivated baseball fans across America." Lawmakers elaborated on the House floor, particularly stressing the team's underdog status.

"Without regard for the doubters and the critics, Fresno State baseball exhibited an uncompromising commitment to success," said Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia.

After posting a 47-31 regular season record, the Fresno State team became the lowest-seeded baseball team ever to win a college championship. In doing so, players set multiple records, including 14 home runs pounded out during the course of the College World Series.

"Fresno State, what they accomplished, has all the makings of a movie," enthused Costa, himself an alumnus of the state university. "This is a great time we share for the Valley."

The Senate already commemorated the team's victory, in a resolution passed without public comment or debate on June 26. For Capitol Hill, that was astonishingly quick work. The Senate had acted only one day after Fresno State beat the University of Georgia to secure the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I baseball championship.

The House took longer, for several reasons. The House's Fourth of July recess interfered, while staffers insisted on screening the language to clarify several questions including what the resolution meant by the team's seeding.

The House also erects several procedural hurdles to make sure lawmakers don't spend all their time renaming post offices and commemorating local sports teams. San Joaquin Valley lawmakers had to rally 25 House co-sponsors before the measure could be brought to the floor, though that only took two days once the resolution was formally introduced last week.

"It is, without a doubt, a Cinderella story," said Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa. "The Bulldogs captured baseball fans' hearts, as college baseball fever spread."

In the kind of personal touch not always heard on Capitol Hill, Radanovich recalled how he would e-mail the College World Series results to his son, King, who was away at camp.

The Fresno State resolution was one of a number of sports-related high-fives offered Tuesday by the House, as lawmakers honored everyone from the Hamilton College women's lacrosse team to the Arizona State University women's softball team. Even here, though, raw politics intruded, as Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., interrupted the Arizona State praise to denounce congressional Democrats for failing to support more oil drilling.