Disaster in the Ninth
June 15, 2010 | by Christopher Cox
After the jump, a recap of last night's softball game against n+1.
The Partisans at n+1 took Team Paris Review into extra innings for the first time in the magazine's history last night, and the results were not pretty. Our team is an efficient piece of machinery, precision built to play strong through the standard seven innings of a softball game. Through some miracle that mechanism made it through the eighth, a little shaky, a little wobbly, but intact. And then in the ninth the wheels fell off.
But let's back up for a second. It was a beautiful day in Dyn-o-mite Park, warm and sunny on the field even as the rest of New York huddled under storm clouds. In the early innings, both sides looked strong: n+1 had taken a page from TPR's playbook and recruited every writer and agent they knew with a decent throwing arm. Newcomer Tony "Baseball Camp" Hatch, rumored to be editor Lorin Stein's cousin but actually TPR's first pick in the magazine-softball draft, took the mound and made quick work of the first two innings, limiting n+1 to a single run. The Paris Review bats, though, were cold—thanks to Marco "Screwball" Roth's unhittable parabolic throws—and we were kept scoreless through two.
After n+1 snuck through three more runs in the third, we knew we had to respond. Your faithful captain managed to reach base in the bottom of the inning, but a collision with the first baseman meant that the Parisians needed a pinch runner. Luckily, "Legs" Stein was there to step into the breech, taking up a position on second and astounding everyone with his elegant method of base running, which involved standing stock-still on the next hit, a grounder that to a less strategic player would have represented a chance to advance to third. Stein, however, was more concerned with la longue durée, knowing as he did that Devin "Whallop" McIntyre was coming to the plate. Devin delivered, and Stein took off toward home, scoring the Parisians' first run of the game.
We'd have to wait until the next inning to pick up another, off a solo home run by Jim Rutman, only to look on in despair as n+1 continued to chip away with two more runs in the fifth. Finally, in the sixth, the top of the order started to heat up, with three runs scored off a home run by Pashman and a double by Hiltner.
The brave TPR squad was behind by one run, six to five, when we arrived in the bottom of the seventh—and last—inning. We were down to our final out when, in a lightning-striking-twice kind of way, Captain Cox reached base again. After McIntyre followed up with a solid crack into the outfield and Cox slid hard and ineptly into second to force the error, we had the winning run on first and the top of the order coming up to bat. Paul "Mr. 5:30" Wachter earned his leadoff position by quickly punching through a single, Cox was waved home, and the game was tied.
That would be the last happy moment for the team. Our opponents awoke from their slumber to get the final out and push us into extra innings. Both sides held on valiantly through a scoreless eighth, but when n+1 found every gap in the ninth to go up by four runs, it was curtains for the Parisians. Final score, ten to six.
N, in this case, apparently equals nine.
The Paris Review fells giant Vanity Fair; n+1 takes down The Paris Review: it was a David and Goliath story told twice, and like most jokes, it wasn't as funny the second time. Now n+1 gets to wear the mantle of the scrappy upstart—at least until One Story shows up and takes them to town.