We re only a couple of weeks from Opening Day, so it s time to start previewing the season. Inspired by an old feature on The Black Table, we re going team-by-team and distributing Four Things You Don t Know about them. If you have suggested oddities on your team, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Today: The Pittsburgh Pirates.
• 1. Any Rebroadcast of This Game Is Still Strictly Prohibited. The first radio broadcast of a baseball game was the Pirates vs. the Phillies on Aug. 5, 1921 on KDKA, the same channel the Pirates are still on today.
• 2. They Go to the Well as Many Times as It Takes. Pitcher Sean Burnett is a 2000 graduate of Wellington (Fla.) High School, the same school that produced Bobby Bradley, the Pirates' first-round selection in 1999. That makes the first time in major league history that a team has used consecutive first-round selections on players from the same high school.
• 3. They Think Steroids Are Kid's Stuff. Who can forget Dock Ellis pitching a no-hitter on LSD? In April 1984, Ellis revealed that he was under the influence of LSD when he pitched a 1970 no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. Ellis, now co-ordinator of an anti-drug program in Los Angeles, said he didn't know until six hours before the game that he was going to pitch. "The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn't," Ellis said. "I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn't hit hard and never reached me."
• 4. They are alive ... alive! Pirates pitcher Kip Wells had surgery on March 7 to replace a vein leading to a clogged axillary artery. Doctors removed of a vein from Wells' leg, which was used to replace the damaged vein near his right armpit. All hail modern medicine.
(Tomorrow: The Seattle Mariners)