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Jersey City Informer
JERSEY CITY, NJ - Something remarkable happened on the Jersey City Snakes' way to losing a record 26th game in a row. They did it with class.
The Snakes are the most dysfunctional team ever to take the diamond. It hardly matters that they play as if Mack Sennett were their manager. Lots of teams do that.
It is the way they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory that defines them. Two nights ago, they instigated a bench-clearing brawl with themselves , injuring most of their starting lineup and resulting in a 12-4 blowout by Brooklyn.
Last night's final score was a familiar pasting: 9-0 at the hands of the Staten Island Yankees. So how was it possible that the Snakes were leading 7-5 going into the ninth inning? That's where it gets interesting.
Faced with the ignominy of becoming professional baseball's all-time consecutive loss leader, owner/manager Kenny Quasebarth's team played solid ball. Fielding was crisp and inspired. Patience at the plate was rewarded with a salvo of base hits. The mood in the dugout was upbeat with players high-fiving each other. Even the fans who had come to jeer the team on began hurling encouragements.
It was hours later that team officials revealed what transpired next, but what the crowd - and a baffled Staten Island team - at Hertz Stadium saw was a suddenly empty Snakes dugout.
As the team had prepared to take the field, three outs from victory, Quasebarth answered the dugout phone and was informed by New Jersey police that right fielder, Frank Decker, was standing on the railing of the Throggs Neck Bridge. Decker had been excused yesterday by the team to attend a tryout with the Pawtucket AAA Red Sox. The 35-year-old journeyman had not done well. Later, Snakes teammates said that Decker had seen the tryout as his "last chance to make it to the show."
At this moment, however, those teammates and Quasebarth were speeding along I-295, jammed in the centerfielder Ladell Pitts' limousine.
It took two hours to talk the distraught Decker down from the bridge railing. Players Billy Ray Mix, Andy Nagel and Jake Banks spoke quietly with Decker. In the end, it was Quasebarth and his wife, Abby, who got through to him. Each taking a hand, they helped him down and into the waiting ambulance. The Quasebarths declined to comment on what specifically had been said.
Back at Hertz Stadium the field announcer spoke over the P.A." "The Jersey City Snakes forfeit. Official score, 9-0."
In years to come, people may remember last night as the time this club set a new standard for losing, but they would be well-served to remember instead how they set the record. As winners
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