Amazon is creating drones for delivering their packages. George Jetson would be proud.
The 2014 Sundance Film Festival will include “No No: A Dockumentary,” exploring the man, myth and cultural phenomenon of onetime pitcher Dock Ellis. It will screen in Park City, Utah, in January.
He claimed to have thrown his 1970 no-hitter (or no-no) for the Pittsburgh Pirates while high on LSD. He spent the last 25 years of his life as a drug counselor.
The movie is directed by Jeffrey Radice and is one of 16 films in the U.S. documentary competition that will be world premieres. This is the same category that embraced “Blood Brother,” the documentary about Rocky Braat who moved to India to help children with HIV and AIDS. It won two top prizes in January of this year and opens Friday at the Regent Square Theater.
Here is the Associated Press obituary for Dock Ellis when he died Dec. 19, 2008:
Dock Ellis, who infamously claimed he pitched a no-hitter for Pittsburgh under the influence of LSD and later fiercely spoke out against drug and alcohol addiction, died Friday. He was 63.
His wife, Hjordis, said he died at the USC Medical Center in Los Angeles.
"It's a tremendous loss to the family," she said. "He's been struggling for about a year with the end stages of liver disease."
"I've been in this business for 40 years and there was never a more standup guy," former agent Tom Reich said.
Ellis went 138-119 with a 3.46 ERA from 1968-79, spending most of his career with the Pirates. He went 19-9 in 1971 when Pittsburgh won the World Series, and made his only All-Star appearance that summer — and what a show it was. Ellis was tagged for one of the most memorable home runs in All-Star history, Reggie Jackson's monster shot off the light tower at Tiger Stadium.
In 1970, Ellis overcame eight walks to pitch a no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader at San Diego. Several years after he retired, the right-hander said he was high on LSD during the victory.
At a time when drugs, race and other issues in American society were colliding with baseball, Ellis often was at the forefront. He spoke his mind and stood by what he said while playing with the likes of Willie Stargell, Dave Parker and Roberto Clemente.
"He didn't take nothing from nobody," Reich said. "He was very much ahead of his time."
Ellis played on four Pirates teams that won the NL East and also pitched for the New York Yankees, Oakland, Texas and the New York Mets.
Ellis was traded with Willie Randolph and Ken Brett from the Pirates to the Yankees for Doc Medich after the 1975 season. He was 17-8 in 1976 for the Yankees and won a game in the AL championship series against Kansas City.
The Yankees hired Ellis in 1986 to offer guidance to their minor leaguers on drug and alcohol abuse.
"I hope to make these young players aware of the stress involved in being a professional baseball player and drive home the point that drug and alcohol abuse is not the way to relieve that stress," Ellis said at the time.
Ellis kept up his campaign against addiction for the rest of his life, and frequently joined former teammates to support them on their charity work.
Photo, by Les Banos, of Manny Sanguillen whose smile nearly makes up for the solemn look on Dock Ellis’ face. Photo of Ellis pitching by Ron Mrowiec
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Yesterday's news was a bit of a whirlwind, as it probably should be when a school cuts 30 percent of its sports. At 10 a.m., Robert Morris athletic director Craig Coleman and president Gregory Dell'Omo informed coaches and players (those not in class) that the school was planning on cutting seven sports, a decision that ultimately impacts 80 athletes and one-full time head coaching position. Around 2:30 p.m., the school released a statement with the same information.
The details of this decision have been previously detailed, but there's still a little more to add to the situation. Robert Morris has described these moves as part of a reorganization effort, a sort of buzz term that's akin to telling someone they've been 'laid off' from their job instead of 'fired.' It was a little bizarre for a school of 5,000 students (undergrad and grad combined) to have 23 intercollegiate teams, more than much larger schools like Pitt or West Virginia. Now, the money can be devoted to an increase in scholarships, improved facilities and assorted other things, many of which can benefit emerging basketball and hockey programs.
The decision was described as something that will benefit the athletic department as a whole. Simply, it was spread thin financially and needed to eliminate teams (and the costs that go with them) in order to devote money more efficiently toward their athletes. Duquesne -- a fairly similar school in terms of size, stature -- notably cut four programs a few years ago to bring its total to 16, the same number RMU will have after the conclusion of this academic year. Even larger schools like Maryland have had to cut programs. It's an NCAA-wide trend in which seemingly no school, regardless of size, is entirely immune.
In so many ways, the moves make sense for RMU, at least on paper.
Still, it's hard to not to sympathize with those who are affected by the decision. The school made the wise -- and, frankly, only -- choice to honor the athletes' scholarships until they graduate and under NCAA rules, they can choose to transfer without penalty. But to have your life uprooted and your plans suddenly changed is difficult for anyone, particularly at such a crucial juncture of life.
Look at the school's men's and women's tennis teams, both of which were eliminated. Of the combined 15 members of the two teams, 12 are from a country other than the United States. Now, thousands of miles away from home, they are immediately faced with decisions that will have a profound impact on their futures. That's tough and as understandable as any decision is, there is a sort of human toll that comes with it.
Below, I'll post some of the more notable quotes from Craig Coleman's teleconference yesterday, as well as some comments from a coach and a couple of his players that were impacted by the decision.
Robert Morris athletic director Craig Coleman
On how they came to the decision: “We went through a very lengthy, very thorough and very agonizing process.”
“This is many, many months of study that involved a lot of people doing a lot of work to gather data.”
On why the decision was made: “We could have 23 sports or we could have 33 sports and we could just not fund any of them to win or succeed and have very unhappy student-athletes. But that’s not the kind of athletic department we would like to run.”
“What you see is a university that has a very generous funding level toward its athletic department and yet a university that spends a very low amount per student-athlete – not because the funding isn’t there, but because the sheer volume of student-athletes that we have. We felt the time had come that we wanted all the athletic programs we had in our department to be excellent and we really couldn’t achieve that goal trying to maintain the number of programs we had.”
On his own personal feeling about the move: “Today is a very sad day, it’s a very unhappy day. No one does this with any enthusiasm but we’re doing it because we’re trying to run an athletic department that is the size that it ought to be at a university of our size and is excellent in quality. We felt like this is something we had to do.”
On how the move highlights a larger trend at many different kind of schools: “One of the issues that we all have, regardless of what level of athletics we’re at, is we’re all facing escalating costs.”
On what this decision signals, as far as the university is concerned: “This is a sign that we want to be more competitive across the board in all of our sports. We want our higher profile sports that have achieved a lot of success to go to another level. We want some of our Olympic sports and other sports to excel, as well. We want to be regularly competing for conference championships in every sport we have and we want some of our sports to be regionally and nationally-ranked."
Jeff Layman, men's and women's tennis coach
On his reaction: “I was a little shocked both teams were taken from me.”
“It’s a major disappointment. You don’t want to take it personally. It wasn’t wins or losses – it had nothing to do with that – it was just based on when they did their analysis of all their sports. Tennis isn’t considered a priority sport and they just felt it was one they could eliminate.”
“It’s a major disappointment. You not only feel it personally and from a career standpoint, but you put your heart and soul into the kids. You bring them here and you recruit them. All of my kids – I have 16 or 17 total between my two teams – and 15 of them are international. I’m bringing these kids over from another country and I’m kind of their second parent in a way.”
On the reaction of his athletes: “A lot of them were shaken. There were some tears, a lot of kids were crying.”
“They were all shocked. They have to tell their parents and deal with that and then decide their futures, which have pretty much been turned upside down.”
Matheus Neves Ferreira, men's tennis sophomore
On his reaction to the decision: “It’s pretty bad, but it’s understandable that the university wants to give the proper money and prestige to the right sports."
On if he was expecting the decision: “I’m pretty sad it was tennis, but it’s understandable. It was nice being able to spend the amount of time that I have here.”
“We knew that a couple of sports were supposed to be cut and that tennis was on the list, but we didn’t know it was happening for sure. It was a shock.”
On his initial thought when he heard the news: “I was like, ‘Damn, what are we going to do now?’”
On his future plans: “With a lot of hard work and effort, we’ll be able to find the right place for me.” He said he will look into transferring to a school like Penn State or Georgia Tech.
Kourtney Passero, women's tennis junior
On her reaction to the decision: “I would say I was shocked and disappointed at the same time.”
“It honestly hasn’t fully hit me. I’m upset, obviously, and it’s hard to control your emotions sometimes, but I guess there’s nothing we can really do at this point except move forward.”
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With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin the two leading scorers in the NHL this season, offense as a whole has not been an issue for the Penguins this season.
What has been an issue has been where that offense is coming from. Or more accurately, where it's not.
The Penguins' top two lines have produced at a healthy clip most of the as evidenced by the offensive numbers of Crosby and Malkin. And even the fourth line, primarily composed of Craig Adams, Tanner Glass and Joe Vitale, has chipped in an occasional goal.
The third line has been another matter. Brandon Sutter has been been the most "explosive" offensive weapon on that line with five goals. It's been a revolving door on his wings this season however with the likes of Beau Bennett, Jussi Jokinen, Matt D'Agostini, Jayson Megna and others each getting a chances to flank Sutter.
For the past four games, Sutter has been working with Chris Conner and Andrew Ebbett, each recently recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. While, the results have hardly been earth shattering as they have only combined for one goal in five-on-five play but they have combined for nine shots on net overall in the span of four games. Beyond statistics, the trio has displayed a lot more chemistry to the naked eye than any other combination used this season on the third line.
Earlier this week, Sutter talked about his new line.
How have things worked out for you three on this line?
"The first game, I thought we were really good. I thought we really forechecked well. The game in Tampa, I thought we pretty good for that. In Florida, I didn’t think we had the same jump. We spent some time in our own zone. Defensively, we’ve played strong, even when we’ve been in our own end. They’re smart guys. I think our strength is going to be out forechecking ability. Our first game, I think we probably [stole] about 10 pucks and turned them into offensive chances. That’s the kind of line we want to be. They’re quick guys that can create offense and be fun to play with. I like that they can forecheck and bring the speed up ice."
What has clicked for you three?
For me, it’s consistency. You want to be consistent in both ends of the rink. Obviously, it’s defense first and try to prevent goals. At the same, we need guys like those who can forecheck and create offense like that. The first game against Toronto, I think we played the whole game in the other team’s zone and we didn’t have to play defense. That’s probably the best way to do.
What happened on the goal Conner scored against the Maple Leafs Wednesday? All three of you were involved.
That’s the first shift together and that’s the way we want to play right there. We got a puck in behind their [defense]. We forechecked well. The puck went side to side a couple of times and we supported each other. We ended up just getting a break. I think we got a bounce or something and two guys went to [Ebbett] and he slid it through to [Conner]. I think that’s what happens when work. You create confusion down there. We were quick in the corner. That’s the brand we want to play.
What's been the key to success with this trio compared to other combinations used on the third line this season?
"I think the speed aspect of it is pretty big. I think the forecheck aspect has been pretty big. They’re two quick guys who forecheck hard and that’s really been were we’ve been getting our chances and chemistry from. As long as you get a forecheck, establish a forecheck and create some turnovers, I think as a line that’s expected to play a two-way game, that’s where you really find success is when you’re playing in their end."
What's a quick scouting report on Conner?
"Speed and his work on the walls and the corners. He’s quick and shifty. For a little guy, he’s hard to hit off the puck. He’s strong. He’s created offense in his career off coming out of corner and banging guys in the corners. You obviously don’t expect from a guy of his size but he plays it well."
"Kind of similar in that sense. A little more shifty I think. He’s pretty creative with the puck. I think [Ebbett] definitely has a good passing ability to him. He’s definitely a playmaker and it goes well with how me an [Conner] play."
(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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