Sometimes we are a little bit hard on our favorite newspaper, the New York Times, because it is a little bit for old people, sometimes stodgy or sexless or scared to say words like “shit.” It is fun — and necessary! — to tease them, we think. But also! It is the best and sometimes someone there will write about LSD and baseball and make us fall in love all over again. Thanks, New York Times. Thanks, Dock Ellis. Thanks, drugs.
If you don’t know the story of Dock Ellis, you can read his entire Wikipedia page, which should be optioned for a movie. One particularly good part is when he “attempted to hit every batter in the Cincinnati Reds lineup on May 1, 1974, in an effort to prove a point to teammates.” Antics like this, though, are overshadowed by Ellis’ climactic achievement, in which he, according to the New York Times, “threw a no-hitter with Richard M. Nixon calling balls and strikes and Jimi Hendrix, wielding a Fender Stratocaster instead of a Louisville Slugger, digging in at home plate.”
Get it? Jokes about the late 1960s and early 1970s. Because Ellis was on LSD. And he pitched a no-hitter. It is also funny, if you know baseball, to learn that Ellis walked eight batters and hit one.
One man made an amazing internet video about the feat — see it below! — and he told the Times, “I have one experience on acid, and it involved staying up 72 hours straight and nearly having a nervous breakdown. I can’t imagine pitching a no-hitter on it. It’s like a perfect game times a million.”
Now, of course the internet loves Dock Ellis and his wacky game, a date with both Lucy and destiny. But for the newspaper to all but support using the psychedelic drug is hilarious. Observe, this glorifying quote they allow on the grey page:
“The Beatles, Steve Jobs when he was stuck took acid; so many great works of popular art were made under its influence, so the idea that it can extend to sports is intriguing,” Alexander said. “We’re led to believe there’s no overlap between drug culture and sports culture, but why wouldn’t there be? I think there’s a rooting interest in LSD among a certain part of our culture.”
In all, the Times proliferating the Ellis story and comparing him to the Beatles and Steve Jobs comes as part of a larger, slow and steady growing support for the drug, trickling into media. After the Woodstock generation, who seemingly ate it like Altoids, LSD occupied a place of fear — a drug for losing your mind and stumbling off of a building. But with stories like Ellis’s reaching meme status, and reports that LSD could be used by doctors to treat depression, it’s clear we could be heading for a renaissance.
To see the Times staking some ground in this cultural shift seems noteworthy. But if they were really smart (or employed me) there would already be a Styles piece in the works on a new generation of LSD users. It’s all happening, man.