In one of the most thrilling outings yet this season, the Jeans on Fire outlasted the Bodegas Unidas de Brooklyn, 14-13, in a full nine innings of play.
The Buttermilk joined forces with four free agents from a competing league that had laid a claim to Field Five that afternoon. Three of the newcomers played for the Bodegas, helping the side match the Jeans run for run and keeping everyone interested for a full three innings beyond the usual six played. Angelo was a force behind the plate, while Kim had obviously shined on a college team at Emerson and was perhaps a bit bored played with schlubs like us.
The seventh inning proved to be the key moment of the game, as the Jeans surged ahead with five runs. However, they would post no other runs that afternoon, and the Bodegas battled back--aided in no small part by Jim's towering home run. The round-tripper, blasted in full view of Jim's seven-month-old son, sparked a Bodegas rally in the next two innings, but the team effort fell short.
Defensive kudos go to Kim, who played third base with skill (and more importantly, accuracy) throughout the game. Jesse completed a double play, gloving a frozen rope at short and putting out Kim, who could not make it back to second base to tag up. Expect to cringe at Ben's Baseball Tonight highlight clips. This week's subject of "Around the Horn" made several painful, knee-skinning diving catches on the edge of the infield, perhaps trying to make up for a number of costly errors. Team medical staff verified that Ben is healthy, but taking oxygen on an hourly basis.
Intense media scrutiny has been directed at Joel after Sunday's game, when the veteran turned in a defensive performance that defied explanation. Playing at second, a position at which he exceled as a 12-year-old rookie at Armitage Park in Minneapolis, Joel flubbed at least five throws to first and attempted to tag Eddie (a new guy) without the ball in his glove--a technique that everyone believed was legal for maybe three seconds. Fans outside the park shouted down Joel after the game, accusing him of abandoning his steroid regimen and turning to Eastern religion and yoga. Several local columnists, notably the Daily News' Mike Lupica, speculated that Joel is in fact under the spell of black-widow spider Kim Basinger, who will surely try to convince him to quit the game and let the team tank. (Lupica predicted this story would end the way the book ends, rather than the way the movie ends.) Others believe that Joel is under the spell of comedy svengali Charlie Sheen and spending too much time studying lines for Major League 4.
[The Buttermilk Blog regrets that no photos were available from Sunday's game. It was way too intense.]