Team |1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10 Total n+1 |2|0|0|1|0|1|0|0|0|0 4 TPR |0|0|3|1|0|0|0|0|0|1 5
After a week off due to bad weather, the 2013 Paris Review softball season finally had its second act last Thursday afternoon: a riveting extra-inning victory over friendly rival n+1. Although last season’s meeting resulted in a easy TPR win, these two teams have, historically, been very competitive, and this year’s game—which took place at our new home field in West Chelsea—was a characteristically tight contest throughout. General notes (linear and tangential), thoughts, and feelings on the game below:
- n+1 scored first on some hard hits by the top of their lineup, but the damage was mitigated by some stellar TPR outfield defense, which would prove to be a recurring theme.
- Pitching for our opponents was Marco Roth, the sometimes dominant but always infuriating, screwballin’ n+1 editor and cofounder. He wore a Pier Paolo Pasolini cotton replica T-shirt jersey; Pasolini, Italian poet and filmmaker, was a surprisingly keen softball player, frequently taking breaks during the shooting of Salò—his controversial adaptation of the Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom—to organize a series of lighthearted pickup games with the cast and local schoolchildren.
- After the first inning, the game fell into a steady rhythm. Our defense remained strong, and with some timely hitting we lurched out of the middle innings one run ahead. Highlights included an inside-the-park home run by Ben “Chaos Mode” Wizner; some slick fielding by second baseman Louisa “Louisa” Thomas; and an escalating series of really great dugout high fives. We gave up the lead in the penultimate regular frame, and the game remained tied at the end of regulation. Now feels like the right time to introduce this man, who, unaffiliated with either team, inexplicably decided to root for n+1, making his allegiance known through constant heckling. Example: when I came up to bat in the sixth he yelled out the schoolyard classic, “Easy out!” (I popped up to third.) Afterward he came to over to congratulate us, and offered to umpire our next game.
- In the top of the seventh, Chad Harbach, who taught a seminar on the Art of Hitting All Game, smashed a ball to right field that would definitely have been a home run if not for an overhanging tree. Before the start of the game, it had been decided that if this situation arose, the resulting ruling would be a live ball, and, although it was an obvious home run, he and his cohorts displayed their patented Art of Graciousness in accepting the decision. He didn’t score, and the game remained tied.
- This was not the only close call. Twice in the late innings n+1 hit it deep into center, and both times Robyn “Great Defensive Outfielder” Creswell came up with spectacular catches. Creswell, whose presence last season was spotty (on account of his newly born daughter), had been sorely missed, and was this game’s unanimous MVP.
- In the bottom of the tenth we finally broke through, winning the game off the bat of captain and associate editor Stephen “Ham Sandwich” Hiltner.
- Notable debuts: Poet and frequent TPR contributor Rowan Ricardo Phillips, who switch-hit and displayed some nifty glove work; assistant editor Clare Fentress, who played catcher and hit n+1 editor Nikil Saval in the head throwing the ball back to the mound; and TPR’s head of advertising and promotions, Hailey Gates, the most stylish TPR team member since Styron.
- Kudos to: us, for winning; the sun, for shining; and to n+1’s Keith Gessen, for lending me his glove every inning.
Next up: Harper’s (June 27th , 3:30 P.M., Chelsea Park).
Cody Wiewandt is The Paris Review’s softball correspondent.