People sometimes ask us how we can stand to be so immersed in the often-depressing events of the day, constantly doing battle with the forces of evil/leftism. The answer, I suppose, is that we take time to pursue other, more cheerful interests. Popular music. English football and American baseball. Beauty pageants.
Which brings me to the Miss USA pageant, now unfolding in Los Angeles. You can keep up with the contest here, and check out all of the contestants via photos and videos. I’m guessing that Miss Tennessee is one of the favorites:
I wonder: does Glenn Reynolds cover beauty pageants? He may want to start.
UPDATE: From pageants to baseball. Tomorrow’s Washington Post has a nice article by Jonathan Yardley on the first of the insider sports books: The Long Season, by Cincinnati Reds pitcher Jim Brosnan. I remember the book, but haven’t read it. Brosnan opened the door for many athletes who came later, but in Yardley’s view, his book is the best of the bunch. And Brosnan, “the Professor” to his teammates, actually wrote it himself.
Here is Brosnan on being sold to the Reds, which turned out to be a break for him:
I sat back on the couch, half-breathing as I waited for indignation to flush good red blood to my head. Nothing happened. I took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly. It’s true. The second time you’re sold you don’t feel a thing.
His subject, of course, was baseball. I like this account of Don Drysdale in his prime:
When Drysdale is fast — on some days a pitcher throws harder than on others — his fast ball pops the leather of the catcher’s mitt. Like a sledge hammer slamming a fence stump. The very sound can numb a batter’s hands, even before he gets out of the on-deck circle. ‘Got to get out in front — got to be out in front on the pitch,’ he says to himself. Of course, Drysdale also throws a fast curve ball. If the batter sets himself to get way out in front on the fast ball, and the pitch turns out to be a curve ball, he may suffer the embarrassment of looking like he’s chasing bumblebees with a butterfly net.
The photo below shows Brosnan in 1962; the glasses no doubt contributed to his professorial image.
DEACON adds: I’ve read both The Long Season and Brosnan’s other classic Pennant Race. Both are excellent. However, in my opinion, the best of the genre is Ball Four by the other pitching JB, Jim Bouton. I say this reluctantly because Bouton is a less sympathetic character than Brosnan, and is probably not his equal as a writer. Indeed, Bouton’s writing, and his story, exemplify much of what I don’t like about the 1960s. All that said, his book is one of the most compelling pieces of non-fiction story-telling I have ever read. I can still remember devouring it in two sittings in the basement of Baker Library at Dartmouth when it first came out.