Vital Moments

In the Swing

On the town this week: James Yeh, Jacob and Rebecca Shamsian, the City Swingers, Billy Lennon, David Gendelman, Laura Marsh, David Marcus, Mark Yarm, Garance Franke-Ruta, Shruti Ravindran, Tom Kludt, David Taintor, and many more…

The Fine Print is taking a break for the next two weeks so we can have some of our own vital moments. Gabriel’s road-tripping to Huntsville, Alabama, and beyond while Andrew will walk across as much of Nova Scotia as he can manage in the time. But even as the cucumber days descend on the city, the stuff of life continues on.


On Wednesday evening, on North Meadow Ballfield #4 in Central Park, Vanity Fair took on The Drift. It was each team’s final game of the season, and both had brought on high-profile ringers from other teams for the highly anticipated competition. New York Times culture reporter and New York magazine team veteran Joe Coscarelli came out to back up his friends on Vanity Fair, and Paris Review team captain Sophie Haigney showed up in a Dead and Co. shirt to play for The Drift. New York media softball veteran and McSweeney’svisiting editor James Yeh, in black jean shorts, played his first game with The Drift since the start of the season. Insider correspondent Jacob Shamsian and his wife Rebecca Shamsian brought their baby out to watch his first softball game. The Drift’s players were slow to trickle in, so they asked to bat first.

But this was not the only media softball game in Central Park that night. Over a grassy knoll, a team made up of Hearst publication staffers lost 10-9 to the City Swingers. The Hearst team hadn’t played any other media teams all season, taking on teams in a separate league instead. “It’s a league called ZogSports, which is for charity,” one player explained. “When we go to the bar, it’s going to be for the kids.”

The Hearst team that competes in the non-media ZogSports league.

Their opponent’s name was to be taken literally in more than one sense. “They apparently sleep with each other, and it’s kind of cool,” said the Hearst player. A player on the other team confirmed. “We’re the City Swingers; we all have sex with each other,” he said. “Put in there that Kyle Iazzetti hit the walk-off, two runs scored, the place went nuts.” Asked about the sizeable upside-down pineapple on their uniforms, Iazzetti explained, “If you see this again on a house, just walk in. You’ll be fine. Don’t knock, just say, ‘I’m here for the gangbang.’”

Back across the knoll, The Drift was getting desperate. Vanity Fair had racked up runs, and the previously The Drift’s looked unlikely to keep their undefeated record. Cleveland Review of Books publisher Billy Lennon was deputized to reorder the team’s batting lineup to address the situation. First up was Central Park softball regular Moses Tannenbaum, who’d played for at least three media teams this season. Short story writer Mark Chiusano, who played in the Swiss National Baseball League during summers away from college, went second. Yeh brought all his years of experience to the next spot. Lennon, who this reporter remembers as more of a tennis player than a baseball standout in college, rounded out the lineup. By the end of the inning, The Drift was up a run. “Call me a tactician,” Lennon later remarked from first base.

The Vanity Fair team grumbled about the very obvious lineup engineering. It was a violation, as Coscarelli noted while fielding, of “the one rule of the game” — changing the batting order mid-game to give a team’s best players more at-bats is not allowed.  Undeterred by the dubious sportsmanship, Vanity Fair put on an aggressive athletic display, battling back up to a tie. Multimedia journalist Kent Wilhelm got particularly competitive, sliding for catches and shouting “Come on! Come on! You want to run!?” at Our Strugglepodcast co-host Drew Ohringer who had tried to make a break for home but sheepishly returned to third. Two team veterans, research director David Gendelman and executive editor Matt Lynch, hit balls far into the outfield for a pair of triples.

It was getting dark, and a park employee had crossed the horizon, moving from softball field to softball field, clearing out games. “Sweet Caroline” floated out of The Drift dugout. Players wondered if the game should continue with the ball becoming increasingly difficult to see. “If anybody gets hurt, we’ll stop,” Lynch called out while his team was fielding. “Safe outs, no injuries,” Yeh rejoined when The Drift took the field.

In the darkness, The Drift said they’d won 12-10 and celebrated an undefeated, though not undisputed, season. Vanity Fair declined to comment on the score.


About two dozen subscribers, contributors, and friends of The Fine Print gathered on Thursday evening in the leaf-lined backyard of Doris in Bed-Stuy. Taking in conversation, cocktails, and, as the night wore on, grilled cheese, were The New Republic literary editor Laura Marsh, The Nation literary editor David Marcus, Input features editor Mark Yarm, former GEN executive editor Garance Franke-Ruta, political consultant Peter Feld, writer and podcast producer Shruti Ravindran, Vanity Fair contributor Tom Kludt, The Independent deputy U.S. editor David Taintor, freelance writer and editor Sam Eifling, financial analyst Reza Sayeed, as well as The Fine Print’s own Gabriel Snyder, Andrew Fedorov, Sophie Krichevsky, and Julia Thomas. We’ll be hosting our next event in September to celebrate our one-year anniversary. Stay tuned for details!


5 p.m. Ben Smith and Liena Žagare serve burgers (courtesy of Kitty’s in Hudson), beers, and wine in the backyard of their Ditmas Park home in what they’re billing as the first annual Semafor (f/k/a BuzzFeed & New York Times) BBQ.

And then nothing until after Labor Day! Enjoy the rest of the summer! Take it easy!

Have a moment? Let us know!