Perhaps it’s appropriate that the Non-Committals won.
After all, this was the quarter-finals of Brooklyn Kickball, played every Sunday by the ultra-hipsters in cool McCarren Park, so who better to jadedly take victory out of the slackjaws of defeat than a bunch of people who couldn’t have been bothered to have their own team during the regular season?
“I have to dispute that assertion,” said Kevin “D Like Delicious” Dailey, who oversees the 30-team league. “All of the Non-Committals played for some teams during the regular season. These aren’t ringers we imported from Puerto Rico or the Major Leagues.
“Sportz [Jesse Alexander] played on 12 different teams this year,” Dailey added.
In some leagues, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard; in Brooklyn Kickball, you need a yearbook.
Or a fashion magazine. On a Brooklyn Kickball field, uniform attire runs the full gamut from hipster cool to retro chic (yes, we’re talking abut the second basewoman in the tight wifebeater T-shirt and the short-short Catholic school skirt, and the first baseman with the knee-high American flag socks).
There seems to be a rule that every player has to be gorgeous.
“It’s not a league rule,” Alexander said. “It’s the neighborhood.”
Despite the appearance of a league-wide slacker mentality, the Non-Committals-Mellencamps matchup was hotly anticipated.
“The Non-Committals used to be the Burninators, who won it all in 2005 then lost to the Mellencamps in 2006,” explained Dailey. “So this is going to be emotional.”
And, indeed, it was.
The Mellencamps scored three quick runs in the first with an aggressive style of baserunning (a guy scored from second on a ground ball to first!).
But the Non-Committals fought back, sending the game into extra innings, where they won it on a play that captured the intangible attraction of this most freewheeling of sports:
With no one out and a runner on first in the bottom of the 12th, a Non-Committal kicker popped up to shallow left field. The runner tagged up and safely slid into second base, but the ball got away from the defense, and he scampered to third.
With no time to think, Mellancamp third-baseman Priest Fontaine made what turned out to be a crucial mistake, trying to hit the runner with the bright yellow ball (a strategy once called “Indian Rubber” before the PC police ruined kickball). Of course, Fontaine missed, sending the ball into foul territory and the runner scampering home with the winning run.
Afterwards, Fontaine invented a reason for his stunning error.
“There was only one out, so if I don’t get him, he probably would’ve scored on the next play,” Fontaine said.
“It’s a tough loss, but I have to keep remembering the team motto.” The team motto?
The Brooklyn Kickball finals will be played on Sunday, Sept. 30 on Field 3 at McCarren Park (Bedford Avenue between North 12 and Lorimer Street).