Will Leitch comments on Dock Ellis’ passing today, particularly his acid no-hitter. In so doing, we’re reminded that Deadspin lost a hell of a lot more than most people realize when he left:
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.
Much of the appeal of baseball is that it allows you to shut out the real world for a while, but I find that it’s much more fulfilling to use baseball as one of many points of comfortable reference to observe and understand the real world. Leitch is doing that here, and I find it far more satisfying than simply listing the guy’s stats and noting the LSD thing as a comical aside, which so many other remembrances have done since Friday.
Sure, trying to find some greater human truths in the world of baseball is an approach which has its limitations — for example, if you’re looking for the secrets of the universe inside the Rockies’ decision to designate someone for assignment, good luck — but it’s something I shoot for around here, and something I’d like to see more of in the sporting press.