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Play Ball!

Thank God Baseball is Back

Bruce Lonngren/Getty

Put on a glove, watch a game, and the years fall away, time stands still, and the joy of baseball reminds you again of life’s eternal sweetness.

It could be in a bottom bureau drawer beneath some old tee shirts, sweat pants that no longer fit or laundered dress shirts purchased during the first Reagan administration and not worn since the second Clinton tenure. It might be on a closet shelf or perhaps in the attic, wrapped tightly in thick twine. Or maybe—if you’re an optimist, someone who never checks the date of birth on your driver’s license or are simply a bit delusional—it’s in the trunk of your car, ready to be used at the simplest provocation: a sunny day, a field, a driveway, a back-yard, really doesn’t matter.

Tragedy

Florida's Natural-Born Killers

The Daily Beast

Florida teens Brandon Goode and Alex Hollinghurst were madly in love, and wanted to run away together. But then their wild dreams turned to tragedy.

Hope and reality have seldom diverged more violently than last week, when two runaway teen lovers in Florida took their own lives with a gun one of them had just used to murder a police officer.Twelve days before she was found sprawled in some brush with a fatal gunshot wound, 17-year-old Alexandra Hollinghurst had detailed her hopes for the future on the back of a love letter to 18-year-old Brandon Goode.   The happy life that this girl known as Alex envisioned was to commence when she herself turned 18 and became free of parental authority:Things we’re gonna do on 10/29/14 and after: kiss a lot—cuddle—be close—get McDonald’s go on dates—get chinese—sleep in late together—be rich $$$—grow herbs—get married—have a baby—finish prison break—live somewhere nice far away from here—rub each other’s tummies when we don’t feel well—sleep together —shower together—cook for each other—get our real estate licenses—get fancy cars—have a chill room—love each other—woohoo—play with each other’s hair—get tatted—buy a hookah—tell each other how much we love one another—not fight—travel—laugh about right now—celebrate our missed anniversaries—have a lot of woohoo—live alone—be so so happy on each other’s company—laugh a lot—move states - preferably where herbs are legal—work out together—not be sad—cal each other cute names like prince & princess—go shopping together—be good people, have morals—plan the rest of our lives together—live in Europe—decorate our houses together—bake special foods together—fall in love over and over again.

Flashback

Jackie Robinson’s Right-Hand Man

Hulton Archive/Getty

Wally Triplett accompanied the major league’s first black player on trips to the most racist city in the league before making history on his own in pro-football.

Two weeks after opening day, Major League Baseball will hold its annual Jackie Robinson day celebration, the 67 years after he broke the color barrier. There are very few people still around from 1947 who can talk about Robinson and the second player to have broken the color barrier, Larry Doby. But Wally Triplett knew both and struck up a friendship with Robinson and Doby that historic year. Triplett was a chauffeur, confidant, card-playing buddy of Robinson and made sure Jackie always got a home cooked meal when Robinson played in Philadelphia when Brooklyn played the Phillies.

Hitman Turned Vegas Tour Guide

John Warden/Getty

Former Chicago hit man Frank Cullotta now makes an honest living leading tours of his old mob haunts in Las Vegas.

Retired Chicago mobster Frank Cullotta comes from a family of wheelmen. Making a clean getaway is in his blood.Back when Frank was just a boy, his father was killed steering a car for the Outfit with the cops in hot pursuit. Frank was a loyal driver during a long criminal career as Chicago mob enforcer Tony Spilotro’s loyal lieutenant. Cullotta was along on plenty of capers.When Cullotta was compelled turn on Spilotro, the reputed killer who was depicted by Joe Pesci in Martin Scorsese’s Casino, the loyal underling was marked for death.

Small Is Beautiful

The History of Small-Batch Bourbon

Amin Akhtar/laif/Redux

Bourbon always had an off-the-rack reputation, but its distillers knew better: A chapter on small-batch bourbons from ‘Bourbon: A History of the American Spirit.’

Hedonism, decadence, profligacy, debauchery—such words may have made infrequent cameos in the Sunset Strip vernacular of the glam metal band Mötley Crüe, but as axiomatic principles, they were embraced as unquestionably and wholeheartedly as the ever-winking umlaut. Because to be a rock star was to push the boundaries of excess ever further, toward that self-fulfilling longitude—invisible, but mortally real—where glitter and doom became twinned on the horizon.

READY, AIM, FIRED!

Cleaning House at Nuke Command

Eric Draper/AP

The recent firings at a Montana Air Force base address cheating, but not the real issue, says a retired officer: the lack of leadership within the nuclear missile group.

Nine Air Force officers were fired Thursday and dozens more disciplined for their roles in a cheating scandal involving airmen in charge of the nuclear weapons arsenal. But one source familiar with the Air Force program told The Daily Beast that the punishments handed out were more show than substance, and that problems in the nuclear program go far deeper than what has been addressed so far.According to a retired senior Air Force officer familiar with the Global Strike Command (the headquarters responsible for the Air Force nuclear arsenal), who spoke with The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity, the punishments issued yesterday at the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana were a good show, but wouldn’t affect much substantive reform.

Texas Pro-Choicers Arm for Battle

Mike Stone/Reuters

Despite a disappointing ruling in the Fifth Circuit on Thursday, the pro-choice movement is only gearing up for battle.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit gave a victory to anti-abortion advocates Thursday and as a result, pro-choice Texas is refusing to cave into Rick Perry and co.Judge Edith H. Jones wrote in the three-judge panel ruling that the state law requiring all abortion providers to meet the standards of ambulatory surgery centers (ACS) did not cause an “undue burden on the life and health of a woman.”The stipulation, which means a physician performing an abortion must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, will not take effect until September, but since the law was enacted, a third of Texas’ abortion clinics have shut down.

MAMMOTH IDIOCY

Creationists Kill Fossil Bill

Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Eight-year-old Olivia McConnell’s idea to have the woolly mammoth become the state fossil of South Carolina is being blocked by two senators, who want to amend the proposed bill to emphasize God created all creatures.

When eight-year-old Olivia McConnell was perusing a menu at a restaurant that features all 50 of the official symbols of her home state of South Carolina, she noticed a glaring vacancy. South Carolina has a State American Folk Dance, a State Grass, a State Opera, even a State Lowcountry Handcraft, but—no offense to square dancing, Indian grass, Porgy and Bess, or sweet grass baskets intended—McConnell thought something was missing: a state fossil.

OOPS

Colbert Caught in Twitter Storm

Scott Gries/PictureGroup

A Tweet from his show joking about ‘the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever’ provoked fury on Twitter aimed at Stephen Colbert. He says it was nothing to do with him.

We can add Stephen Colbert to a long list of professional funny people who have leapt off the comedy high-diving board, hoping that there’s water in the pool, only to crash into dry cement.        Rosie O’Donnell, Jimmy Kimmel, Gilbert Gottfried, The Onion, and many other standups have been compelled to abjectly apologize, lose their jobs, explain themselves or otherwise suffer severe pain for their ill-fated attempts to make people laugh.        In Colbert’s case, he seems to have been pushed off the high-dive by the Comedy Central public relations staff, who provoked a racially outraged firestorm after tweeting a bit of satire from Wednesday night’s Colbert Report without any context or humorous affect.

Capital Offense

Snyder’s Trail of Crocodile Tears

George Gojkovich/Getty

The Beltway’s NFL owner can buy winter coats for Native Americans until the end of time, and it won’t change the fact that his team’s name is indefensible.

Some weeks ago, I was talking with a few neighbors of mine here in Montgomery County, Maryland. They’re older. Somehow Washington football club owner Dan Snyder came up in conversation. Turns out a few of them had kids who’d gone to high school with Snyder. Any juicy stories, I wondered. They shook their heads: No. In fact, they told me, when Snyder took over the team, and it said in the paper where and when he graduated, they asked their children.

Who Is Frazier Glenn Miller?

Daily Beast editor-in-chief John Avlon dissects the story of Miller, a 'nightmare image' of 'hate groups nestled in the heartland' who went on a Kansas killing spree on Sunday.

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