Brooklyn Kickball — the sport of kings — is back for ninth season

Hurts so good! John Cougar Mellencamps win it all!
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

Get ready to kick some balls.

Brooklyn Kickball is returning to McCarren Park for its ninth season on Sunday with much promise and high drama, as the two-time defending champions, the John Cougar Mellencamps, guaranteed they will win a third title — and as they change their name to the Jon Bon Jovis.

“We’re the best in the universe at kickball — we can beat any team out there, under any name,” said Mellencamp co-captain Zach “Performing Arts” Kinsella.

But the team could turn minutes into memories — if it can even get its roster together by Sunday.

Co-captain Paul “Look Through The” Kehoe allegedly tore his meniscus this spring, star first-baseman Elana “Wolf” Luppino will spend much of the season overseas on business, pitcher Angelique “Carl” Everett was traded to the Pony Boys, and third-baseman Priest Fontaine’s current whereabouts is “unknown.”

The Mellencamps are not the only team with roster problems.

Three top-ranked, but perennially underachieving squads — Crucial Taunt, Lobos, and Licensed to Thunder — disbanded over the winter, turning their stars into sudden free agents.

Taunt captain “Hey” Kate Brown joined Brooklyn United, and Lobos’ co-captain Neil “Managing Editor” Rabinowitz hitched up with Hot Mess, but Lobos’ all-star Jesse “Sportz” Alexander remains the league’s most sought-after free agent.

“As of now, I don’t have a team yet,” said Alexander, who said he’s open to lavish junkets and bribery. “I’m thinking I’ll probably just hang out, ump some games, and try to bring the Brooklyn back to Brooklyn Kickball.”

Meanwhile, final four participants Majesty and Brooklyn United lost key players from their lineups. The royal pains lost their spirited captain, Rochelle “Ro Ro” Fainstein to a new, yet-to-be-registered team called the Kikiables, and Brooklyn United lost its energetic infielder, Eduardo “Marine” Ortiz, to the Marines.

He’ll be deployed to Afghanistan in the coming weeks, though many believe that he saw his toughest action on the McCarren Park field.

“I do not see any valid reason to send anyone over there,” said a somber League Commissioner Kevin Dailey. “I don’t want anything to happen to him — or to anybody fighting there.”

For teams without playoff pedigree, Opening Day represents an opportunity to begin anew and perhaps achieve greatness — while keeping the pressure off.

People’s Court’s Jeremy “Medicaid” Medanich says his team will be playing loose on Sunday, though he hopes to finish better than last year.

“To make it to the final eight would be an honor, but ranking in the top 10 in the end is a more realistic goal,” said Medanich.

And Divine Sisterhood’s Brian “The Beast” Ries isn’t even thinking final four — he’s worried about ordering enough burgers for the team’s annual barbecue this week.

“We’re not out to win the championship, but we’re out to enjoy Sunday, hang out with friends, and crack out a few beers — where appropriate,” said Ries.

Brooklyn Kickball opening day at Gilroy Field in McCarren Park (Bedford Avenue at N. 13th Street in Greenpoint), May 1, 1–11 pm.