It is fitting that the great Dock Ellis died on a Friday, which is the worst day to die. Nobody pays attention to news on Saturdays.
It makes sense, though: No one was ever quite had a monumental achievement in sports ignored so thoroughly as Dock Ellis. You really can't overstate what he did. You can have your 762 home runs, or your 38,387 points, or your 50 touchdowns in a season. This man threw a no-hitter under the influence of LSD. I mean, can you imagine? Forget this being one of baseball's greatest feats. I think it's one of Earth's.
My favorite part of the story is how why this happened in the first place. Ellis didn't realize he was pitching that day, so he figured, you know, let's do some acid.
"I was in Los Angeles, and the team was playing in San Diego , but I didn't know it. I had taken LSD..... I thought it was an off-day, that's how come I had it in me. I took the LSD at noon. At 1pm, his girlfriend and trip partner looked at the paper and said, "Dock, you're pitching today!"
"That's when it was $9.50 to fly to San Diego. She got me to the airport at 3:30. I got there at 4:30, and the game started at 6:05pm. It was a twi-night doubleheader.
The box score tells the story. Ellis walked eight guys in a not particularly powerful Padres lineup. The Pirates scored their only two runs on a Willie Stargell home run in the second inning, which must have been awesome to watch while tripping. And Ellis talked about diving out of the way of a line drive that wasn't even hit near him.
I have never taken acid, though I had a couple bizarre mushroom experiences in college. Mostly, I just giggled and became convinced the four of us in the room were the only four motherfuckers on the planet who UNDERSTOOD. I tried to write on mushrooms once, convinced I could bring back the mad wisdom psilocybin induces, only to turn on my computer the next morning to realize I'd written about 4,800 words on the healing properties of wheat toast. I cannot fathom going out in public, let alone pitching a major league baseball game. And he threw a no-hitter!
The world is a crazed, nonsensical place, mostly random, confused, chaotic, numbing. We search for reason wherever we can find it. And then, out of the nether, someone throws a no-hitter on LSD, and we realize that there is so much we do not understand, so much that will always elude, so much with a strange beauty that's impossible to comprehend. Dock Ellis' achievement has been lost to the years — it's not exactly the type of thing ESPN can do a "SportsCentury" about — but it's staggering and awesome, and we mustn't ever forget it. R.I.P. Dock Ellis. We know a little bit more about our world because of you, and a lot less. Thank you
32. Detroit Lions (0-15). I'm not sure how a coach is supposed to handle the first 0-15 start in team history, but I can't imagine anyone doing much more entertaining than Rod Marinelli. If they lose Sunday — and, at this point, you have to think they will — he might just set the dais on fire in his postgame press conference. I wonder what Rod Marinelli's next job will be. By the way, how bad is it? Actual headline in the Detroit Free-Press: "Ex-Lion Joey Harrington Feels Bad For City, Team." Now that's just being cruel.
31. St. Louis Rams (2-13). So here's the most mind-blowing piece of trivia I've come across today.
Last week, a movie became the highest-grossing film of all time in England. You know, England. Place that thinks they're smarter than all us ugly Americans. Home of Shakespeare, Lord Byron, Black Adder. Do you know what movie is the highest grossing movie in the history of England? Get ready for it ...
It's Mamma Mia! I'm not bullshitting here. Mamma Mia has more money in England than any other film has ever made in England. Mamma Mia! Really!
This film features Pierce Brosnan singing!
Way to go, England.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (2-13). When you've been with a team for 20 years, like outgoing Chiefs GM Carl Peterson has been, I suppose you don't have to answer questions after your last game. I do love his jacket, though.
By the way, this Sunday is probably Herman Edwards' last game as an NFL coach. Screw Favre: We must salute true entertainment royalty on its way out that screen door.
29. Cleveland Browns (4-11). So you know how, when you use the Google search toolbar, it will fill in words it thinks you might type in next? For example, if you type in "Cleveland," you get:
Well, here's what you get when you type in "Braylon Edwards"
Braylon Edwards Browns
Braylon Edwards dropped passes
Braylon Edwards fantasy
Braylon Edwards contract
Braylon Edwards dropped passes 2008
Braylon Edwards penn state
Braylon Edwards costas now
Pretty rough year for Braylon, I'd have to say.
28. Oakland Raiders (4-11). Well, I know Daulerio and his fellow Iggles folks are huge Raiders fans this week, if they can even muster up the energy to care for one more week. Oh, and don't look know, but JaMarcus Russell is starting to look like an actual NFL quarterback lately.
27. Cincinnati Bengals (3-11-1). Palin watch! n case you're afraid we're going to lose touch with everyone's favorite Wasillian, worry not: You can join the social networking site Team Sarah, which is "a coalition of women dedicated to advancing the values that Sarah Palin represents in the political process." Don't worry, boys: "Men welcome too!" Here's my favorite group on the site: Conservative Pagans For Sarah. To quote:
A group for those of us who may not be of the Judeo Christian persuasion but who otherwise cherish the conservative approach to life.
Whew! There are some left!
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10). You know, I'd really like to get ahead in the world of marketing. I think that's the perfect field to go into right now. But I want to be a cool marketer, like, down with what the hepcats are into. I've found just the right company.
Sign up now! Not surprisingly, their graphic arts department comes highly recommended.
25. Seattle Seahawks (4-11). I'll be bitching about the Buzzsaw a few entries down, but, at this point, it's looking extremely possible that Seattle will win in Glendale next weekend, and we'll enter the playoffs at 8-8. We still get to host whoever, though! Though if Seattle runs up a 28-0 halftime lead — which would actually be the third time the Buzzsaw have trailed 28-0 at halftime this season — I'm turning the game off and growing a mustache.
24. Green Bay Packers (5-10). Nothing much too much to gingerly poke at in the Green Bay Press Gazette this week, save for a big huge controversial roundabout they're building at a busy intersection. A photo of the intersection should give you a pretty good idea what it's like to live in Green Bay.
23. San Francisco 49ers (6-9). Looks like Mike Singletary is going to be back next year, much to the delight of David Letterman and his writing staff. I enjoyed Late Night's Singletary riff because I'm not sure anyone will get it outside of Deadspin readers and San Francisco sports fans. (And I'm not sure all of them will get it either.) In a world where Jay Leno is going to be in prime time five nights a week, anytime late night does something obscure and strange, I'll take it.