A whole new ballgame

There's no crying in baseball.

Except for yesterday.

What happened on a ballfield in Alexandria, Va., negated the famous line uttered by Tom Hanks' grizzled manager in the Hollywood tome, "A League of Their Own."

What happened outside the nation's capital was enough to leave the nation in tears. This is what it's come to.

An early-morning baseball practice was interrupted by something that should be foreign to us, but is becoming all too commonplace.

It is the ugly "pop-pop-pop" of gunfire. And it is tearing this country apart.

What makes what happened yesterday even more troubling is that this was just not any baseball practice.

These were Republican members of Congress and some of their aides, sharpening their skills for the annual charity game that pits GOP legislators vs. their Dem counterparts.

The fact that these were Republicans was not happenstance. It appears the gunman who opened fire on the field - critically wounding House GOP Whip Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and wounding four others - was targeting them.

It is believed he held a longtime grudge against President Trump and Republicans in general.

It was only the heroic action of Capitol police, part of the security detail assigned to Scalise, in confronting and taking down the gunman, that averted a massacre.

Healing the wounds will take a little longer.

Not just the physical wounds inflicted on those hit by gunfire, but the psychological wounds of the nation as we mull just how far our political rancor has descended.

Ironically, two congressmen from our area were supposed to be on that field, but by happenstance were not, perhaps saving them from the gunman's wrath as well.

Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Chadds Ford, a pitcher for the GOP team, was supposed to be at the practice. In fact he was on the field the morning before, but on this day he had a breakfast engagement on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, of West Goshen, simply missed his ride by a few minutes. He likely would have been at shortstop, aside from Scalise, who was at second base when the gunfire broke out.

I have been concerned for some time about the partisan rancor that is consuming the country.

I have no interest in pointing fingers. Both sides of the political aisle are at fault. This is not a Republican fault, nor a Democratic rant.

This is an American problem.

An American tragedy if you will.

I was heartened yesterday to see many in Washington reach across the aisle and embrace each other. Some prayed. Others offered hugs.

Civility reigned. At least for a few hours.

House Speaker Paul Ryan led the charge, noting that "an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us."

In fact, it is an attack on the roots of democracy, the underpinning of our great experiment in government. Will it last?

Well, this was the message I received in a voice mail about an hour after the news of the shooting first broke:

"What happened in Washington where only by chance two Capitol police were on hand because Scalise was there otherwise it would have been a slaughter of Republican senators and House members and I can only blame left-wing local newspapers like the Daily Times who regularly dump on the Republicans ... all the way up to Hillary who says resist, resist, resist and then we get those stupid people who think they're a comedian like Kathy Griffin who runs around with decapitated head of President Trump and then the deplorable play in Central Park depicting the death of the president.

"You guys, you keep revving up the crazies and there's going to be hell to pay and I'd like to see you guys - you particularly Phil Heron - write an editorial about that.

"The Daily Times is deplorable because you guys always dump on the Republicans. I'm just ashamed of you."

Looks like this might take awhile.