The Quest To Be An All-Star Continues
June 20, 2012 Leave a comment
Amazing, phenomenal and inspirational are just three of the many words used to describe the journey of R.A. Dickey’s life. It’s amazing that he can pitch at the big league level after it was discovered early in his career that he was born without an ulnar collateral ligament in his right pitching elbow. This is something that should cause him great pain should he turn a door knob. Phenomenal best describes the season he’s having in Queens pitching for the Mets. Never has a knuckleball pitcher had this much single season success thus far and in the kind of fashion with witch he’s doing so. I’ll get into the statistics a little later. Most importantly Dickey’s life story has been nothing short of inspirational which he chronicled in his book Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball along with New York Daily News beat writer Wayne Coffey.
R.A. Dickey’s story is one that baseball fans, regardless of team affiliation, can root for. It’s a real feel good story. The kind that starts out murky, sees a bright light that gets dimmed by some dark clouds and is then blossoms in the bright sunshine for the whole world to see. Dickey’s tale involves the revelation of sexual abuse as a child that caused him to endure suicidal thoughts as an adult. This coupled with being the 18th overall draft pick in 1996 that had an $810,000 signing bonus reduced to $75,000 after his condition was discovered would cause some to plain give up. But to his credit and a testament to his faith he never did.
He would eventually reinvent himself and learn to master one of the most difficult and baffling pitches in the history of our nation’s great pastime. Knuckleball throwers are a small fraternity in baseball’s past and present. They do include some all-stars and hall of famers such has Hoyt Wilhelm and the Niekro brother’s. But none of them have experienced what some have been calling a magic carpet ride that is season R.A. Dickey is having. Nor have they compiled the stats he has to start a season. Thus, he has been making a strong case for him to be the starting pitcher for the National League at this year’s midsummer classic scheduled to play out in Kansas City, Missouri.
No one in their right mind can argue against this case. Dickey has so far gone 11-1, is second in the NL in ERA, broke Jerry Koosman’s club record for consecutive scoreless innings with 32.2 of his own and in his last five outings has struck out 50 batters while walking only three. He also managed to do something that hadn’t been done in twenty-four years when he threw two consecutive one-hitters the last being Dave Stieb of the Toronto Blue Jays to do so.
Even more impressive is the fact that he became the first NL pitcher since Jim Tobin of the Boston Braves, sixty-eight years earlier, to accomplish the feat.
To say that R.A. has pitched lights out is an extreme understatement given the fact that he does not do it with an over powering fastball and devastating breaking pitch like Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone before him. But Dickey is a bit of a pitching anomaly in how he manages to control his knuckleball and changes the speed of it throughout the strike zone. And like those men before him he is now becoming a reason for fans to flock to Flushing.
Not bad for a man who told the press he’s not going to explain why things are falling into place and just “enjoy the ride” for the time being. Dickey is yet another good story in the world of sports and yes I like many who watch baseball on the world’s biggest stage could not be more thrilled that it is happening here. How can you not root for a guy who is persevering the way he is? How can one not root for a man who is not afraid to show his literary knowledge and geeky side by naming his bats Orcist and Hrunting? Even my high school English teacher Mr. Kenney would get a kick out of rooting for him.
But with all this written I pose one final question. Is there anyone out there who is bold enough to attempt to make a case against Robert Allen Dickey being the National League’s starting pitcher come this July?
I am patiently waiting for a logical response to this one.
If you have any questions, comments, or story suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at DanielRivera2424@gmail.com. Also, follow me on Twitter @DanielRivera24 and I will do the very same.