Sporting apparel/culture site No Mas recently released the animated story of Dock Ellis, who threw a no-hitter on acid—fucking ACID—and died last December. Time for his biopic, yeah? Let's cast and storyboard this thing. To Hollywood we go!
Why Dock Ellis? Forget about the acid thing for a second, and forget about the fact that he once said he never pitched a game in the minors when he "wasn't high." Forget the drugs, forget the drug counselor career he curiously, redemptively embarked on later in life. The guy was a fucking character. Ellis used to wear hair curlers during warm-ups so he could accumulate sweat to throw spitballs. Ellis admitted to inflaming racial tensions just so he could get reporters to talk to him. Ellis' sworn enemy was Reggie Jackson. Reggie Jackson! Ellis loved to throw at other players' faces. He lived for the intensity and bullshit and trashtalk of sport, not for the competition of it, but for fun. Ellis was one of those characters in baseball's age of personality who make everyone who came before him look like nothing but a steak-and-martini gormandizing dolt, and everyone after him a faceless, anonymous, contained machine devoid of life. Our baseball players now have about as much personality as they can fit into a shot of their cocks on this here site (and the cock-loiterers who post them). That's why we need The Untitled Dock Ellis Story: to remind us that there were once interesting people playing sports, and that the major leagues are now, like everything else that goes corporate to suck of the teet of The Man, homogenized, soulless bullshit. Dock Ellis is the antithesis of that. Dock Ellis is self-expression in athletics personified. Dock Ellis is the man. And yes: Dock Ellis pitched a no-no on acid.
Because this is a biopic, we're obviously going to have to cut between the epic no-hitter and everything else that happens in his life. Because Deadspin Films are innovative, we can even go into Ellis' future in a Tarantino-esque time-split, which is kind of an accurate representation of what it's like to live on acid for a day: you see through time. Time is your bitch when you're on acid. It has the consistency of a DORITO CHIP. It can easily be crushed and consumed and come out pretty much exactly the same on the other end.
Your best titles in the comments, please; the winner goes in the headline.
[This is FEK, BTW.]
Dock Ellis, as played by Dave Chappelle. Aside from his ability to pull off profoundly funny Drug Humor, Chappelle possesses the classic comic skill of originality when it comes to being incredulous with the way the universe works. Chappelle's been gone for way too long, and he's a good enough actor/comic to merit an Oscar-bait role, but not the kind of self-serious turns that comedy actors-turned-wannabe-drama actors take (see: Jim Carrey in The Truman Show, The Majestic, etc).
Donald Hall, as played by Jack Nicholson. This man will be our Naked Indian-like mystic, except he's going to be Dock's Crunchy White Friend, Donald Hall. Hall, who was eventually the U.S. Poet Laureate, wrote the book on Ellis, literally: Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball. Hall is a fucked-up druggie with whom Ellis finds a common bond with. When Hall originally wrote his book, he wrote that Ellis was drunk on the day he threw his no-no. Which: no. Ellis was getting strange on some acid—fucking ACID—and Hall wrote as much in the 1989 epilogue to the book's paperback release. Why the hiding? Because Ellis was playing for the Yankees when the book was published in '76, and him and Hall worried about what George "The Narc" Steinbrenner would think.
Reggie Jackson, as played by Michael K. Williams. Every story needs a foil, and the rules and regulations of drug-fearing America are too obvious (and too easily evaded) for a guy like Dock. He needed a bigger problem, and he got what he asked for in Reggie Jackson, who was rightfully controlling a lot of the discussion about race in baseball when both players were in their prime. Mr. October had been around longer, was less mischievous, was the well-behaved of the two when it came to having decorum and sportsmanship. For what it's worth, he was also the better player, which maybe Ellis might've had the potential to be recognized as had he not played each game on drugs (but: bygones). Reggie Jackson famously hit a pitch thrown by Dock Ellis in the 1971 All-Star Game into a transformer, and Dock Ellis famously retaliated by hitting Reggie Jackson in the face with a pitch. This was basically how Dock Ellis did business. Michael K. Williams played Omar on The Wire. If you've never watched The Wire, I'm sorry. if you have, you know exactly—exactly—what I'm talking about. This is perfect.
Act 1: Dock's Old Age. In fact, the first flashback/flashforward—so we can get to the peak stuff in the story at the end—should be of Ellis winning the World Series in 1971 with the Pirates, a year after he pitched his no-hitter on acid. We then go into old age, when—living with his wife and his stepdaughter—he finally comes to realize that all anybody wants to talk about are the drugs he did. For the longest time, Ellis had to keep quiet about his incredible feat, for which he'd be inevitably shamed. People would throw accusations of performance enhancement and pejoratives about how bad drug-users like Ellis are not just for society, but for sport. Ellis eventually became a drug counselor and helped people out with drug problems, but let's get one thing straight:He eventually came to happy terms with his feat. And another thing correct, here: ACID is NOT a performance-enhancing drug, kids. Anything that can give you permanent psychological scars just from looking at your dick will not help you pitch *better.* We will talk about Dock's inevitable struggle with this fact when dealing with the people he helps advise when he becomes a drug counselor in his later, post-baseball years.
Act 2: Dock's Rise To Fame.More time sequencing! Dock's trying to trace back what the hell kind of wack-ass shit happened over the last 50 years. How he got to be who he was, the racism he faced as a kid. After his career, why he was left unfufilled by it. Even though he'd won the World Series, all he ever wanted to do was win a title as a Yankee. He got to the Yankees, but he didn't win a title. What he did do? Make a name for himself. Like the time a few months before he won the World Series in '72, on May 5, when a stadium security guard maced him in the face. Or like the May 1, 1974 game where he pitched at the heads of Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen, Tony Perez, and Johnny Bench (hitting the first three), before which, he tried to lift the spirits of his team with one of the best motivational speeches in baseball: "We gonna get down. We gonna do the do. I'm going to hit these motherfuckers."
Act 3: The Dock Ellis Acid No-No. The legendary game. Now he remembers. This is who Dock Ellis was. Mischief, incarnate. The spirit of the prankster. The guy pitched a no-hitter on acid. Fucking ACID. And the world was better off. People are still trying to petition to get MLB TV to show the game that Dock Ellis couldn't live down or past: he showed up twisted out of his head on drugs, and pitched the hell out of his game. We cut from the second-to-last pitch, to Dock Ellis, the drug counselor, living out his last days in California.
Finale: Looking back on baseball and the bewildered look on his face he had after he won his no hitter, an older, wiser Ellis realizes: MLB's full of cheaters, liars, addicts, and assholes, most of whom aren't even charming. At least he stood for something. Let's face it: Ellis was never gonna be Reggie Jackson, drugs or no drugs. If he tried, he would've ended up second-rate. The guy was something on to his own, and when he both comes to peace with and embraces his legacy in our denouement, he sees the light: Dock Ellis, Fuckup, Drug Addict, Folk Hero. A title over black: "Dock Ellis died on December 19, 2008, in Victorville, California, of liver problems. He was living out his last days as a drug counselor." We flash back to that last no-no pitch in his glove, ready to be thrown. Everyone in the stadium is going wild. It all goes quiet. And right as Dock Ellis throws, the ball starts singing to him, and it's singing this song. He throws, and we cut to black over the song.