There are lots of different ways to deal with the ups and downs of baseball. Part-time DH Ken Griffey Jr reportedly took a little siesta recently in the clubhouse. Keith Hernandez, former first baseman and current TV announcer for the Mets, also indulged in a brief snooze during a recent extra-inning game, his head down on the desk, sort of like I used to do in first hour English during my brief, awkward foray into the magical world of high school academia. Trey Hillman reportedly did a lot of praying, and reading from the good book. But by far my favorite way to deal with the grind of 162 games comes from the annals of 70’s baseball via the story of Dock Ellis, a former starting pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates (among others). His method of coping? LSD. And lots of it, apparently. He once threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres while tripping his brains out. Which makes me wonder, how far is new Royals manager Ned Yost willing to go in order to help the team win? I’m just sayin’. Sometimes, when things are really bad, you gotta think outside the box.
As a “troubled youth” who came of age in the 70’s, I can honestly say I’ve had more than a few first-hand experiences with Dock Ellis’s methods of coping, which ultimately led to a couple of stints in rehab (did some post-grad work after the first one) in the 80’s. And while I would certainly not recommend hallucinogens to any active player, they might not be such a bad idea for long time Royals fans. How would the Royals 12-23 start look to a drug-addled burnout? Probably a heckuva lot better than it does to a clean and sober me.
At any rate, the Ned Yost era begins tonight. He’s getting a second shot at a job very few baseball men ever have the chance to experience even once. He will lead a sports franchise Forbes.com values at 341M dollars. Given our recent history, he has an extremely difficult task ahead. But I am confident he learned much during his first experience as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. Most of us learn more from our failures than successes. Good luck, Ned. Something tells me you’re going to need it. And if all else fails, you could always try a Dock Ellis. I’m just sayin’.