Beat Man of the Year, Non-Comics Division: R.A. Dickey

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ra dickey Beat Man of the Year, Non Comics Division: R.A. Dickey
Is there a more feel good story anywhere this year than the R.A. Dickey saga?

Once cast on the scrapheap of pitching due to lacking a crucial ligament in his elbow, Dickey went through purgatory and emerged with the determination to claw his way back, and gripping the baseball with his knuckles. The Mets pitcher won his 20th game yesterday, the first Met to do so since 1990, and along the way he’s having one of the greatest seasons ever by a pitcher who specializes in throwing knuckleballs.

For those who don’t follow baseball, the knuckleball is a mysterious art. Tossed with a lack of spin, it follows an unpredictable trajectory to home plate, sometimes blobbing up as a fat home run ball but more often for Dickey as a fluttering, unhittable butterfly.

All that would be cool enough as a come back story, but Dickey is more than that, one of those characters that only baseball, the Samuel Richardson novel of sports, with its long, daily grind and ample down time, could produce. Humble in outlook but a fierce competitor, erudite and reverent, in the off season he decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for charity, (The charity? An organization that helps women in Mumbai at risk of abuse) and then released an autobiography, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball Beat Man of the Year, Non Comics Division: R.A. Dickey, that garnered rave reviews while revealing as a child he had been sexually abused, cheated on his wife and contemplated suicide. It’s a mark of both Dickey’s performance on the field and his integrity as a person that all of this just served to make the fans love him all the more.

It’s not even just his pitching. While on the field he’s hitting a mere .157 it’s still more than “slugger” Jason Bay, and he runs the basepaths fearlessly, even in games he’s pitching well. He’s a competitor in the best sense, not because it’s going to make him rich and famous, but because it’s the right thing to do.

But to the purpose of this blog, Dickey, a English lit major in college, is One Of Us.


A phony might have said Sting or Anduril. R.A. Dickey has proved he’s no phony.

201209280038 Beat Man of the Year, Non Comics Division: R.A. Dickey

[Dickey is currently featured in Knuckleball!, a documentary about the pitch available on iTunes.]

Comments

  1. I had the pleasure of seeing RA win #20 yesterday at Citi Field. To further his nerd creds, his pitching music at the start of home games is the Death Star portion of the Star Wars theme and he bats at home games to the Game of Thrones music. Yesterday’s game was awesome and it was great to be there to cheer him on and help celebrate his achievement.

  2. Snikt Snakt says:

    Sooo envious of you. :-)

  3. THANK YOU! R.A. is my favorite player on my favorite team. He has made the Mets worth watching this season and earned me a ton of points for my fantasy team (that features only Mets players). He’s a really cool guy and enjoys the sport for what it is. He doesn’t get into the controversial stuff of the sport, and feels more blessed to be there than upset something didn’t go his way.

    Another “one of us” is Vikings punter Chris Kluwe who has a band a video game blog and tweets by the name @ChrisWarcraft

  4. Torsten Adair says:
  5. I’m a Yankees fan, and life has made it impossible for me to even follow baseball this year, but I’ve still heard so much about the Dickey story! Love that he’s overcome so much adversity and stayed true to his nerd side all throughout! Cy Young contender for sure!

  6. I’d planned to go months earlier because it was an afternoon game, last game of the season. Wasn’t expecting anything special, and then RA got his spot moved in the rotation and I lucked out. I’m so rarely there when something special happens. :)

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