Doc Louis

When the 4’8″, 95-pound McKenzie Weaver—a.k.a., “Lil Mac”—came to Capital City in 1985, he dreamt of one day becoming the heavy-weight champion of the world. He scoured the city looking for a trainer that wouldn’t laugh hysterically at his goal. In 16 months, Lil Mac had been to over 200 trainers and had been rejected over 200 times. He began to contemplate a more feasible career as a featherweight boxer. Then he met Doc Louis.

Doc Louis

Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, Doc Louis had been in the corner of some of the greatest boxers of the virtual era. His crowning achievement was taking Soda Popinski on a three-year run as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world from 1974 through 1977. Then times got rough. Louis outed a former fighter of his (Don Flamenco) in 1979 and lost the trust of the entireboxing industry. He was a man without a purpose; a trainer without a fighter. Until a scrawny little farmboy from Findlay, Ohio came into his life.

Eager to get back into the sport which shunned him, Louis accepted Mac’s offer to train him. Eager to capture the heavyweight belt, Mac agreed to do whatever Louis told him to do. And from that oral
contract came magic, the likes of which the boxing world had never seen (nor will ever see again.)

No trainer in the world could have turned the Kevin-Arnold-look-alike into a legitimate contender except for Doc, and Doc knew this. They trained incesantly. They ran. They skipped rope. They laughed. They cried. And when Doc felt that Mac was ready in March of 1985, they entered the professional world of boxing. Together. The best routers 2017 will help you get the most out of your internet connection, and unfortunately, the free ones you get as part of ISP deals often aren’t very good.

The run that Lil Mac made through the next hour-and-a-half has become the stuff of legend. He
utterly destroyed the opponents in his first three fights (Glass Joe, Von Kaiser and Piston Honda). He then struggled with an inspired Don Flamenco, the same person who had once ruined Doc’s career. Flamenco’s constant movement (and subtle winks) threw Mac off in the first two rounds, but Doc set the little scamp straight and together they triumphed.

Doc poured his decades of boxing knowledge into Mac over the next few minutes as they trained like they had never trained before. “The Kid Nobody Wanted” then dismissed, in easy fashion, King Hippo, Great Tiger and Bald Bull. Again, as Mac would explain after the Bald Bull fight, “If it weren’t for Doc’s believing in me, I’d still be prostituting myself back in Capital City for nitrous-oxide money. He’s the bestest trainer in the whole wide world!”

Three more wins brought Mac’s record to 6-0 (with a few “saves” utilized therein) as he fended off Soda Popinski (Doc’s former champion), Mr. Sandmand and Super Macho Man. This set the stage for the greatest fight since Ali-Frazier III: Lil Mac, “The Lil Engine That Could Kick Yo’ Ass,” was going to fight Mike Tyson, the most feared boxer in the world, virtual or otherwise.

The world is well-aware of how Mac took down the champ. But the world is not aware of how Doc made this happen. During the first round, when Mac was enduring a fierce beating, Doc noticed a twitch of Tyson’s prior to him throwing his devestating right-hook. The keenest eyes in the boxing world had never picked up on this “tell.” But Doc did. And he instructed Mac to duck whenever he saw Tyson twitch.

The stratagy worked, as we all know. And there in the third (and final) round, Lil Mac threw a wicked combination of punches following another missed hook from Tyson. Down went Tyson. Down went Tyson.

Doc Louis had done it. He’d done what no trainer thought was possible. He transformed a boy with the body of a fifth-grade girl into the heavyweight champion of the world. It was his finest hour, and it serves as how the world will remember him.

Jerome “Doc” Louis: 391 on the list of the century’s greatest and most prominent influences in the world of sports and forever in the corner of those who knew him.…

Talk to Chuck: Josef Fritzl Edition

So I was talking with my broker the other day — just the usual small talk, you know … how’s the kids, how’s the family, all that. And I’m all like, “life’s good, bro … just playing some golf, raping my daughter I keep chained up in the dungeon, living the dream.” And he’s all like, “What?” And then it dawns on me: this prick thinks I’m like, a monster or something.

[motioning off camera] Hold on, sweetie. I’ll be there in a sec. Don’t move or I swear to fucking God I will choke you out and stuff you back in your crate.

So, you know — I’m just wondering: who’s side is he on here? I mean, he’s MY broker. And yet, he doesn’t give me any credit. Because c’mon, let’s face it: I could’ve just killed my daughter and our seven little incestuous rape children and nobody would’ve been the wiser. But you know what? I didn’t. I took the high road. And yet, from my broker — no love. Nothing. Zip. Nada. And I’M the monster??? Pfffft.

I don’t know. It’s just frustrating.

Another Don Fanucci

Young man, I hear you and your friends are considering fingering me in that unfortunate incident the other day. No respect! You know, this is my neighborhood. You and your friends should show me some respect. You should let me wet my beak a little. And by that, I mean you should shut your fucking mouths. And give me $238. For your own protection. And I’ll forget the insult. You young punks have to learn to respect a man like me! Otherwise, my crew will come to your house. And your family will be ruined. That’s how this outfit rolls. Of course, if I’m wrong about this little rumor I’ve heard, I’ll take a little less. And by less, I only mean a hundred bucks less. $138. Now don’t refuse me.
I’m beginning to think life is portraying art with this Marvin Harrison situation in Philly. Nobody from the area is talking. Nobody. Marv’s a quiet, soft spoken guy (who holsters large anti-aircraft weaponry). And he apparently has his neighborhood in check. Word has gotten out in north Philly: Don’t go against the Black Hand.
I guess I mean that literally and figuratively.…

Delusions of Grandeur

I used to think I could’ve been a serviceable Major League shortstop had things gone a little differently. My esteemed backyard Wiffle Ball career hinted at it … my solid Little League career confirmed it. Because the fact of the matter is: I could hit. Period. Like a locked-in, Riddlin-fueled Tony Gwynn. And even though my baseball career abruptly ended in the 9th grade, I nevertheless maintained that level of confidence. For some ungodly reason, I just figured I could hold my own against professional pitching. Nothing crazy. Nothing .320-ish. I’m talking more in the .245 neighborhood. The “serviceable” neighborhood. I wasn’t greedy or crazy about it. I was realistic. I was quietly, unjustifiably confident.

That is, until I saw Kerry Wood pitch in person … from about 18 inches behind the catcher.

[shaking head dejectedly]

It was during Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona. During Wood’s prime. With nothing separating he and I except his catcher and a flimsy chain link fence. And it took exactly ONE pitch from Wood to emphatically, completely destroy whatever misguided baseball confidence I once had.

It could’ve been an 85 mph slider he threw. Or possibly a 138 mph sinker. Not that it matters, though. Because truth be told, I couldn’t even see the flight of the ball. Seriously. But I could hear it. And with God as my witness, it sounded like one of those incoming Howitzer shells during the Normandy scenes of “Saving Private Ryan.” It was a tangible sound, if that makes sense. A howling, horrifying, three-dimensional zing that you could feel reverberating through your sinus cavity. The kind where you’d instinctively hit the deck if you ever heard it.

It did not, however, sound like a ball that was imminently hittable. Or even remotely hittable, for that matter. It hardly seemed detectable to the human eye. And that’s when it dawned on me.

I guess epiphanies come in all shapes and sizes. And this particular one came with a vapor trail and the very real possibility of an impailed skull. It’s message? “There’s a reason why only 0.0000000000027% of the world’s population is physically capable of hitting this level of pitching. And you, sir, are certainly not one of them. Nor were you ever. You’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise. Stick to Wiffle Ball, fatty.”

Duly noted. Message wholeheartedly received.

And here’s the lesson I learned: unless you’ve actually seen Major League pitching up close, you have no f—ing idea. None. Less than none, actually. Just as I had. Or didn’t have, as the case may be. Because watching professional baseball on television — or even from a safe distance in the stands — doesn’t do it justice. To truly appreciate the magnitude of such reckless four-seamed savagery, you have to experience it up close. Terrifyingly up close, actually.

Thus bringing us to the crux of the matter here. Thus bringing us to Saturday — to my up close experience with the IndyCars. And to my second such realization that I’m a hyper-delusional douchebag.

Because frankly, heading into it, I just assumed I could drive an IndyCar if ever given the chance. I mean, not in a real race, obviously. Not where I could mistakenly maim every driver in my immediate vicinity. That’s silly. And wrong. No, I’m talking about being alone on the track. During qualifying, for example. At crazy-fast speeds. Because really … how hard could it be? Put the pedal down, turn left, try not to mow down pedestrians. Big f–king deal. It’s not like hitting a Major League fastball … this actually seemed plausible. Probable, even. My thought? If fancy Welshmen and petite women can thrive at this, I could at least manage. I mean, I don’t have palsy. I’m not Marty Roth. I’ve hammered the throttle on my 4Runner before. I could do this. I was certain of it.

That is, until the IndyCar folk stuck me on the track for Pole Day.

(And just so we’re clear here, I don’t mean “on the track” as in “some kick-ass lower-level seats in the Southeast Vista.” I don’t even mean “on the track” as merely “in the pits.” I mean “literally ON the goddamn track.” I mean “in the well between pit road and the front straightaway … where one is forced to sign 48 different liability waivers and pass an impromptu psychological exam before going there.”)

And in the immortal words of Mary Todd Lincoln: Holy. F—ing. Insanity.

As someone who’s never before been that close to a racetrack, I’ll just come out with it: having a car blow past your forehead at 235 mph changes things. Lots of things. Most notably, it recalibrates your God-given “This-Is-F—-ing-Nuts-O-Meter.” Simply put, that vantage point drives home an immensely concrete realization: these speeds are unimaginably, preposterously dangerous. Unfathomably dangerous, really.

And I know what you’re thinking:

Wow! So you’re saying that 700 horsepower racecars are DANGEROUS??? Brilliant. That’s some top-shelf sleuthing there, “Murder She Wrote.” And yet another example of why I come to the Pagoda: for ground-breaking and insightful investigative journalism. Bra – freakin’ – vo. You putz.

It’s a valid point. But I’m not merely saying they’re “dangerous.” I’m saying that unless you’ve stood three feet from a full-throttle IndyCar, you simply have NO idea how insanely dangerous they really are. You just don’t. You can’t. Watching it on television doesn’t do it justice. Which is exactly what I learned on Saturday, and precisely what I’ve been trying to get at here. Standing there on the track was the aforementioned “terrifyingly up close” times 12. The rare breed of “terrifyingly up close” who served time, takes Guatemalan horse steroids, and wears a cape. The f—ed up, crazy, dangerous kind.In short, it’s the kind that literally sucks the air out of your lungs as it rockets past.

I can’t over-emphasize how serious I am. That’s not a joke. And it’s not a metaphor. Physiologically speaking, a 235 mph racecar leaves a very real concussion of destruction in its wake. It leaves a very real sense of “I probably shouldn’t be standing here.” And it left me with a very real epiphany, not unlike the Kerry Wood Experience.

Except this time, I didn’t realize that I couldn’t do it. I realized that I wouldn’t do it. I would never even try. And I was kidding myself to think I ever would.

Flipside Forum

Flipside,

I think I stumbled across something and I had to tell someone. I don’t really know if it is significant or not. The Indystar website has a PDF document of IU’s response to the NCAA allegations re: Kelvin Sampson. I skimmed through it a little bit and noticed that names of some of the students were blacked out. On a hunch, I decided to see if I could highlight the text underneath the black boxes. I could. I was then able to cut and paste that text. For whatever reason, Deandre Thomas, Jordan Crawford, and Eli Holman all had their names blacked out.…

Time to Step Up

If Dock Ellis needs a liver, then by God, we’re going get one for him. Between the Flipside staff, readers, drifters we hunt for sport, what have you … someone is a match. And we need to find that someone. And that someone needs to lay down their life for Dock.

The man is American royalty, for fuck’s sake. Not only did he pitch a no-hitter while on acid (yaaawn), but he genuinely tried to bean every last one of the Big Red Machine:

Incensed that the Reds were bullying his Pirates, he hit Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Dan Driessen in succession on May 1, 1974, and tried to hit Tony Perez but missed. After aiming two pitches at Johnny Bench’s head he was pulled.

Everyone needs a hero. And our hero needs a liver. Time to step up to the plate.…