Pop-Up Post: Tripping and Pitching

This isn’t the kind of “pop-up” I mean! (courtesy of Funny or Die)

Welcome to the first installment of the Pop-Up Post!

As I have mentioned in a number of earlier articles—most recently in my April post entitled “A Blog a Day“—finding something interesting to write about can be pretty challenging, especially when your goal is to produce at least one article a day. And once you find a decent topic, you then have to actually write about it, which can also pose some problems.

Let’s just say that Writer’s Block also affects bloggers since, as we all know, bloggers are writers, too. Granted, they don’t always get the respect they deserve, but I for one feel they have earned it. Writing is writing, after all.

Which brings me back to the Pop-Up Post.

Have you ever been sitting around—perhaps reading or watching television—and had a unique, original or interesting thought cross your mind? Maybe even a reaction to something that might be worth sharing if it were slightly more developed?

Me, too!

Inspiration for writing can be hard to find (courtesy of Fantasy Faction)

Well, the Pop-Up Post functions as a vehicle by which to deliver this information to readers without having to fully commit to an entire article. At first, this may seem kind of lazy, but for a daily blogger like me, it instead becomes another weapon in my writing arsenal. A very useful weapon, actually, since it requires very little forethought and focuses instead on raw, unadulterated creativity.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I am all about: being creative while also sharing my perspective on the world around me.

In the future, Pop-Up Posts will be much shorter since I won’t have to explain their purpose every time. Some may look like regular articles while others may seem like blurbs—it all depends on the topic at hand and the passion I feel about it once I sit down to write. Of course, Pop-Up Posts may also be generated through my iPhone, so some may be only a few lines in length. As I said, it all depends and, frankly, I like the idea of having no preconceptions about how this will work. All that would do is cause more pressure and, to me, Pop-Up Posts are about alleviating the pressure to produce lengthy posts each day.

So here we are at Pop-Up Post number one, the maiden voyage for this idea of mine. And the subject of this post is one I rarely (if ever) consider: Major League Baseball.

I’ve always been more of a football guy.

Anyway, I was wandering through cyberspace the other day and came across an interesting YouTube video about an even more interesting former player from the 1960’s and 70’s: Dock Ellis.

Ellis was a pitcher for a number of major league teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics and New York Mets. And he played during a time most people consider to be the Golden Age of Baseball—long before all the controversies about corking bats, taking steroids, betting on games you play in, visiting clinics like Biogenesis for Human Growth Hormone (HGH) treatments and all the other crap that has crept into the game over the last twenty or thirty years.

Sure, some of these things still happened—and substances were still abused—but you just didn’t hear about them as often. And since there were no cell phones or Internet back then, players’ activities weren’t immediately broadcast to the entire world or splashed across newspaper headlines everywhere.

They showed up for practice, worked out, played their games and went home. At least many of them did, including Dock Ellis. Of course, he had some hobbies that would cause tons of controversy today, but instead make him an even more colorful character in baseball.

Which brings me to the video I found recently.

Dock Ellis in the early days (courtesy of Louis Requena/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

On June 12, 1970—a decade before Pete Rose’s betting scandal and several decades before substances like steroids would be banned from the sport—Ellis pitched a no-hitter when the Pirates played the San Diego Padres. At first, this may seem like nothing more than a nice accomplishment for a pitcher, but when you consider the condition Ellis was in at the time, it becomes much more significant.

He was tripping on LSD. Yes, the same LSD that led Timothy Leary to suggest young people “turn on, tune in and drop out;” introduced the world to the Grateful Dead, who provided music during the infamous Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests; and freaked out hippies at Woodstock when they ingested tainted brown acid.

How Ellis was able to function during this game—let alone pitch a no-hitter—is beyond me. And honestly, I’m not even sure he knows how he did it. Check out his account of that trippy day:

“I can only remember bits and pieces of the game.  I was psyched. I had a feeling of euphoria. I was zeroed in on the [catcher’s] glove, but I didn’t hit the glove too much. I remember hitting a couple of batters, and the bases were loaded two or three times. The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes, I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate. 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.”

What a trip that must have been for Dock! (courtesy of sergioleoneifr.blogspot.com)

Freaky, huh?

Even freakier—and funnier—is the animated video about that day produced by No Mas and artist James Blagden. Since this Pop-Up Post is supposed to be much shorter, I will end with this hilarious video as well as a brief public service message.

You can find the video HERE, but please consider it primarily as a cautionary tale. LSD and other drugs have no place in athletics—and I sincerely hope none of you would combine the two—but I can’t deny the fact that the story of Dock Ellis tripping and pitching is about as funny as they come.

I hope you enjoy it and will see you for the next installment of the Pop-Up Post!

Posted on June 13, 2013, in Perspectives, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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