After the jump, a recap of Tuesday night’s softball game against Harper’s Magazine.
WP: Kanon (2-0)
SV: Hiltner (1)
For the past several seasons, the scruffy band of all-stars from The Paris Review has been a team without a home. Tuesday night’s game against Harper’s was the first in our new digs, James J. Walker Park, and we immediately capitalized on our home-field advantage, shutting down the sluggers from the venerable monthly in five-and-a-half innings.
The field at James J. Walker is a mystery wrapped in a postage-stamp-sized enigma. Named for corrupt New York City mayor James “Beau James” Walker or, perhaps, for Jimmie “Dyn-o-mite” Walker of Good Times fame, it was originally designed as an open-air squash court. The outfield fences are dangerously close to home plate, especially for the heavy hitters of TPR, so we had to vary our Central Park game plan—of towering home runs sent sailing in the direction of the Harlem Meer—in favor of some devoted small ball. The top of the order happily obliged, with a single from Wachter followed by a string of doubles from Rutman, Wizner, Pashman, and Hiltner. After pitcher David Kanon, going on just seven days’ rest, shut out Harper’s in the second and Patrick “Rounders” Loughran hit a triple in the bottom of the inning to start off a two-out, three-run rally, it looked like curtains for the Harper’s side. The score was eight to two.
But the Indexers had an answer: they came back strong in the third and fourth, driving in six runs to our three to bring the score to a nail-bitingly-close eleven to eight. But that would be as close as they made it. As a girls soccer team started up practice somewhere in right field (one of the Harper’s squad’s more barbaric players was heard encouraging their batter to aim for “yellow 10,” one of the future Mia Hamms warming up in the corner), the Parisian defense showed up in full force, going one-two-three in the final inning for the win.
Special notice should go to Jim Rutman, who returned from an injury-packed offseason to snag some scorchers out in center field; to Louisa Thomas, who proved that, Vanity Fair‘s implications aside, more female athletes make for a stronger team; to the numerous players who executed heroic slides during the game, notably Andrew “Pigpen” Rice; to Matt Schwartz, who didn’t let the fact of a Harper’s paycheck dissuade him from joining the forces of good; and to Anna Hartford, lately of Cape Town, one of a long line of Commonwealth athletes who have come to TPR to learn the American pastime.
Celebratory pint glasses of gin were had after the game at Antarctica bar, where the defeated Harper’s team proved that despite losing five straight to The Paris Review, they could still drink like winners. As the oracle Mia Hamm said, “success breeds success.”