If one looks at the schedule, the Brown Stockings were at home from August 12, when they played the Athletics, through September 13, when they played Hartford. They had the game against Philadelphia on September 22 and then returned home to play Philadelphia three more times at home, starting on September 27. The pertinent question is what was the club doing on those eight days when they didn't have a championship game scheduled?
By September 15, the Brown Stockings were in the Cincinnati area playing baseball and they remained there through the 22nd. But, again, this isn't what I want to write about. This post isn't really about the Brown Stockings. This is actually a post about Joe Blong.
-The Brown Stockings arrive in the Cincinnati area by September 15 and play a game against the Stars which they win 12-8 (and which was umpired by Charlie Sweasy).
-On September 18, the Stars play the Ludlows in an exhibition game and lose 7-5 to their rivals. Joe Blong is suspended after the game. Rumors fly that Blong had "sold" the game and/or was drunk during the game.
-Blong is expelled from the club on September 20 and there are reports that he had already signed a contract with the Brown Stockings for the 1876 season. During his hearing, Blong is rather defiant towards the trustees of the club and one explanation for this is that he has a contract for $1,500 from the Brown Stockings for next season.
So we now know how Blong signed with the Brown Stockings for 1876. The Brown Stockings were in the area playing baseball and actually had a game against the Stars in which Blong pitched. One can assume that the contract was offered to Blong sometime between September 15 and September 20 and that this contract colored Blong's view of his service with the Stars. It's possible that Blong already had a contract with the Brown Stockings before the Ludlow exhibition game and, if this is true, his behavior in the game should be interpreted in that context. Blong was a St. Louis native, had arranged to play with one of the top clubs in the country for the following season in his home town and was already fixed on his future rather than on endeavours in Covington. He had no loyalty to Covington or the Stars and probably couldn't care less about the rivalry with Ludlow. Blong was headed back home to play baseball at the highest level and, as far as he was concerned, the Stars could go pound sand.
It's arguable that the Brown Stockings' trip to the Cincinnati area lead directly to Blong's blow up with Covington and the beginning of his reputation as a crooked ballplayer.