Here is a second helping from the sampler of Cincinnati's pitcher-author, Jim Brosnan. Like other extracts which recently appeared in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (April 9), they are from his new book, Pennant Race (Harper & Brothers, $3.95), published this week. Part of an earlier Brosnan book, The Long Season, also appeared first in this magazine.
Now we'd regained first place from the Dodgers, but our prospects had failed to stir a sleepy sportswriter from Dayton, Ohio, who sat on the dugout bench thinking up reasons why the Reds were winning. His questions reflected his pessimism, an attitude to be avoided until you're five runs down in the last inning. I picked up the new steel-colored heavy bat that hitters swing in the on-deck circle to make themselves feel strong.
"What is that?" asked the writer.
"That, Froggie, is an extruded aluminum football. What did you think it was!"
Don Blasingame led off against Ray Sadecki, the Cards' young left-hander, who'd beaten us four straight times. (And was not yet 21!) As Blasingame swung hard at Sadecki's first pitch and missed, Pete Whisenant said, "If I were manager and Blasingame ever hit a fly ball I'd fine him. He oughta hit nothing but line drives."
Blasingame hit the next pitch onto the right-field pavilion for a home run.
"That's another reason you're not a manager, Pete," said Jim O'Toole.
"He should still try to hit line drives all the time, a little guy like that. Let the big boys hit the long ball."
Gene Freese, a bigger boy than Blasingame, hit a two-run homer later in the inning to give Sadecki a taste of adult living. He stayed in for four more innings but the Cardinals couldn't do anything with Ken Hunt's hanging curve except hit line drives at somebody.
Hunt, slightly embarrassed at his good luck, said, "All I'm trying to do is throw strikes!"