Play the field at new singles softball league

for The Brooklyn Paper
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If you strike out looking for dates at a bar, or a party, there’s always the softball field.

A new coed summer sports club, Singles Softball Saturdays, is launching in McCarren Park on June 5 — insert obvious “getting to second base” joke here.

“Some guys just hate going to bars and having to flirt with girls and have all the awkward interactions. All you want to do is meet someone,” said league co-comissioner Ben Shimon.

Shimon and his co-owner Jacob Reuben, classmates in business school in Arizona, started a similar league in Chicago two years ago as a way to meet new people and get their friends girlfriends.

This year, they are replicating their model in Williamsburg, where teams will play an eight-week schedule using a 16-inch softball, designed to resemble a middle-school gym class more than the Olympics. After each game, teams cool off with food and drink specials at Mugs on Bedford and N. 10th Street.

With an equal ratio of 150 men and women divided among eight teams, Shimon and Reuben, hope to play a few innings each weekend while also playing matchmaker.

Shimon believes that the casual interactions of playing softball with a group can lead to romantic activity and even a relationship, taking much of the ruthless anxiety and stress out of dating in the big city.

“It’s really cool to see what happens,” said Shimon. “You don’t see flirtation at the fields. You can barely tell if people are hitting on each other.”

Players who join the league say they meet new friends, though Shimon and Reuben boast that a significant percentage of softball players end up going on dates after the game.

You could strike out on the field and hit a home run off the field (or vice-versa).

“People got a date, a kiss, something more, a girlfriend. Whether things work out or not, they’re making new friends, get outside and come to a cool neighborhood like Williamsbu­rg,” said Shimon.

No wonder the league’s motto is, “Play the field.”

Singles Softball Saturdays at the McCarren Park Ballfields (N. 12th Street and Bedford Avenue in Greenpoint), starts June 5. Registration fee is $100. For info,

Updated 5:53 pm, June 2, 2010
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