I grew up playing baseball and though it began to drive me a little crazy by the time i was in high school, i believe much of my interest was in how important it was to not get too inside of your own head, or as Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) says to Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) in Bull Durham, “Get out of your head, Meat!”. Baseball requires a certain concentration without focusing too much focus on the fact that you’re concentrating. To me that’s zen, to be without thinking about being.
If that doesn’t make much sense, perhaps this will clarify. On a hot summer night in June 1972, Pittsburg Padre’s pitcher, Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter while bombed on LSD.
According to Ellis:
“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. 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.”
Check out singer-songwriter, Todd Snider, playing his song “America’s Favorite Pastime” as a tribute to Doc.