Wherever he winds up
December 16, 2012 4:01 PM   Subscribe

2012 has been one great year for pitcher R.A. Dickey. He climbed Kilimanjaro. He published a well-received autobiography revealing for the first time that he'd been a victim of sexual abuse as a child. He starred in a documentary about the knuckleball at the same time as he continued his reinvention of the pitch, to often dramatic effect. After a fantastic season, he became the first knuckleball pitcher, and one of the oldest pitchers ever, to win the Cy Young Award, pitchers' highest honor. And now, pending a contract extension, he's been traded to the rapidly improving Toronto Blue Jays.
posted by RogerB (40 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Also, he makes an awesome face when he pitches, which has become a meme in its own right, much to his mom's amusement.
posted by RogerB at 4:11 PM on December 16, 2012


Leaving the Mets would be the highlight of anyone's year.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:21 PM on December 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


And he has named his bats 'Orcrist' and 'Hrunting'.
posted by Argyle at 4:26 PM on December 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm certainly delighted that he's leaving the NL East, although his interview on Bullseye this year made me like him much more than I normally would like a Mets pitcher. Hearing that he names his bats after incredibly nerdy things is just too endearing.
posted by gladly at 4:28 PM on December 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


He had me at "Orcrist".
posted by maudlin at 4:28 PM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


He was on the Daily Show recently, came across as a thoughtful guy.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:39 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Endearing nothing, it works. He's a pitcher who hits well above the Mendoza Line - .246 for a career average. There are some utility fielders who don't hit that well.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:47 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been following him since he played for the Brewers AAA team, sad that he never got to pitcher for them at the major league level.

The Mets should have just paid him. A contract like that doesn't have to be for the years he has to play, as much as repayment for the ray of hope he was on the team this year.
posted by drezdn at 4:50 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Part of the reason I have renounced my fandom of the Royals is because the team acquired retreads like Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie instead of trading for Dickey.

And as Rany Jazayerli writes here, Dickey may be entering his prime right now. Great move for the Jays.
posted by reenum at 4:59 PM on December 16, 2012


With Dickey, it's hard to know how long he'll be effective. Then again no one else has been able to pitch without a ulnar collateral ligament.
posted by drezdn at 5:08 PM on December 16, 2012


Speaking as a Yankees fan, I'm legitimately terrified of the Jays. A lot has to go right, especially their rotation staying healthy, but yeesh.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 5:13 PM on December 16, 2012


He's an extremely thoughtful guy, you should listen to interviews on npr or podcasts with him, or better yet read his book.

He just broke Jon Stewart's heart, but given his years of bouncing around the minors married with kids, he deserves to cash in.

funny...



http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/12/15/3768600/the-many-crimes-of-r-a-dickey-against-the-new-york-mets
posted by C.A.S. at 5:33 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a Mets fan, I’m sad he’s leaving. But I would be a whole lot more upset about this if it weren’t for Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey. In terms of stupid trades the Mets have made, this isn’t even in the top five. The Mets are a team that traded away Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan.

I’m a huge fan of RA Dickey; he’s my favorite active baseball player, and he’s a genuinely awesome human being. But I can see how the Mets organization looks at things. He’s a 38-year-old with no ulnar collateral ligament. He might have a few more years left in him, but compared to the talent coming up through the organization, he’s an expensive crapshoot.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 5:33 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this. I am very impressed by R. A. Dickey and, indeed, by anyone who can make a living throwing a knuckleball. (Also, these are the first gifs I've seen that, rather than simply annoying me, positively delighted me.)
posted by Anitanola at 5:46 PM on December 16, 2012


As an Orioles fan, it's heartening to see that the rest of the teams in the AL East are facing the hard cold fact that they'll need major upgrades at all positions to compete with the Baltimore juggernaut.
posted by escabeche at 5:55 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm going to miss Dickey, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson made the best baseball decision he could here. The Mets need a lot of help at both the major & minor league level. I doubt Dickey's trade stock will ever be higher than it is right now, so I can see how this works out for the Mets in the long term (as long as this contract extensiion is work out; it would be epically Metsian for this deal to fall apart at the last minute and the Mets wind up with nothing to show for it except an embittered picher who is now well aware that ownership doesn't appreciate what he's done and won't pay him. Will somebody PLEASE shove a bar of soap in Jeff Wilpon's mouth to prevent him from undermining his GM?).
posted by KingEdRa at 6:11 PM on December 16, 2012


The Mets are just plain idiots. That is all.
posted by freakazoid at 6:40 PM on December 16, 2012


Apparently me moving to new york has caused all of my favorite sports figures from here to get either injured or traded or benched. Sorry David Wilson fans in the future maybe. :C
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:51 PM on December 16, 2012


I'm sorry to see him go (I'm a Mets fan), but Toronto gave up an awful lot for a rental.
posted by puckupdate at 6:55 PM on December 16, 2012


As a Blue Jays fan, I would just like to say

WOOHOOOOOOO
posted by PercussivePaul at 7:08 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a Blue Jays fan, I would just like to say

I wouldn't be disappointed if this worked out for the Blue Rays as well as getting Paul Molitor did.*

*Though I'm still bitter about the Paul Molitor thing.
posted by drezdn at 7:25 PM on December 16, 2012


I was so happy when I saw that a knuckleball pitcher had finally won the Cy Young this year. Partly because I still have a small hope to see a woman in the majors -- and I think that the only way this could possibly happen would be for a hotshot female knuckleballer to break into a designated hitter rule league. C'mon, teenage girl out there on that windswept North Dakota farm with a keen eye and a big brother that needs showing up -- keep practicing!
posted by ariel_caliban at 7:48 PM on December 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Hey Ariel_Caliban, that's a great writing prompt for a YA novel!
posted by KingEdRa at 8:19 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd have a bit more sympathy for the school of thought that Dickey had to be traded and the Mets were just making the best baseball move if their idiot owners hadn't spent the offseason denigrating him and rustling up reporters to write columns about what a terrible person Dickey is. In other words, I basically agree with Howard Megdal here. Happily for me, I'm not a Mets fan, so I can just gawk at the mess they managed to make out of having a popular Cy Young winner on their team who was willing to take a below-market contract to stick around.
posted by Copronymus at 9:04 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Partly because I still have a small hope to see a woman in the majors -- and I think that the only way this could possibly happen would be for a hotshot female knuckleballer to break into a designated hitter rule league.

Well, Eri Yoshida is kicking around. Granted, she was playing in a league that has collapsed.

For some reason, female players in modern professional (men's) baseball seem to have tended to be pitchers, but there's no particularly obvious reason women would have more success playing against men as pitchers than at other positions. I suppose it's selection at the youth level--it's hard to find kids who can pitch, making coaches more receptive to girls who can pitch than girls who can play second base. (Because let's face it, baseball is not receptive to girls. Little League's response to the courts telling them they have to let girls play? Let girls play, but make Little League Softball in the hopes girls stop asking to play baseball.)
posted by hoyland at 9:12 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The correction on Argyle and gladly’s link is epic:
Correction: May 8, 2011

An item in the Extra Bases baseball notebook last Sunday misidentified, in some editions, the origin of the name Orcrist the Goblin Cleaver, which Mets pitcher R. A. Dickey gave one of his bats. Orcrist was not, as Dickey had said, the name of the sword used by Bilbo Baggins in the Misty Mountains in “The Hobbit”; Orcrist was the sword used by the dwarf Thorin Oakenshield in the book. (Bilbo Baggins’s sword was called Sting.)
posted by migurski at 9:54 PM on December 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yankee fan here who thinks they are making the correct decision to trade him although going about it all wrong. No need to bash him on the way out the door. They should be thanking him.

I love the fact he often rode the 7 train to games. Without the publicity of a Jay Z riding the subway to his concert.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:55 PM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Great trade by the Blue Jays - go big or go home, they have jumped all over the Red Sox having a down year (or two) and the Yankees reducing payroll. The first time in years there is even a hint of weakness in the AL East and the Toronto front office trade for every decent player they can lay their hands on. Fun times.

(and don't anyone fall for the 'one good year' or similar arguement against Dickey. He's been excellent for three years now, easily in the top 20 starters in MLB over that time.)
posted by N-stoff at 10:49 PM on December 16, 2012


MLB didn't get him on national TV (Fox or ESPN) enough this year, even when he was throwing in MLB's biggest TV market. I bet we'll see him even less if he ends up in Toronto.
posted by surplus at 1:14 AM on December 17, 2012


As an Orioles fan, it's heartening to see that the rest of the teams in the AL East are facing the hard cold fact that they'll need major upgrades at all positions to compete with the Baltimore juggernaut.

That's all Dan Duquette's doing-- the man knows how to build a scrappy team that will manage to pull off a wildcard and then get mowed down like a toddler wandering into the street in the postseason.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:43 AM on December 17, 2012


MLB didn't give him national tv exposure, but if you are a MLB subscriber like I am,you can see him. Even here in the UK, i can load up his 20th win game, connect my macbook pro to the LED tv, and amaze my cricket-minded friends with 3000 frames per second shots (on the Phantom camera) of those laces not moving on their way to the plate.

As much as I hate to say it, but baseball (bar the blackout policies) is the most forward-leaning media sport. You should be able to load up on nearly any game you like if you have MLB.tv
posted by C.A.S. at 2:48 AM on December 17, 2012


God fucking damn it. The fact that I saw this coming (as a Mets fan hardened by decades of this sort of thing) doesn't make it any easier to take.

Excuse me, can't read links now, too busy cursing Mets management.
posted by languagehat at 7:52 AM on December 17, 2012


Has anybody seen the Knuckleball! movie yet? Is this the one sports-themed film I can actually get my wife to sit through?
posted by newdaddy at 9:37 AM on December 17, 2012


That "reinvention" link is a great interview with Dickey and Orel Hershiser about how Dickey was convinced to try to become a knuckleball pitcher and what happened after that. Lots of really touching moments. Nice post, RogerB.
posted by mediareport at 9:49 AM on December 17, 2012


Partly because I still have a small hope to see a woman in the majors -- and I think that the only way this could possibly happen would be for a hotshot female knuckleballer to break into a designated hitter rule league.

Chelsea Baker may be well on her way to giving you what you want, though I haven't heard anything about her recently.

Bob Uecker (who caught Joe's brother and fellow knuckleballer Phil Niekro) once said, "I always thought the knuckleball was the easiest pitch to catch. Wait'll it stops rolling, then go to the backstop and pick it up."
posted by albrecht at 10:05 AM on December 17, 2012


Also, he was the starting pitcher for the NL at the All-Star Game.

Lifelong Jays fan who hasn't had anything to cheer about for 20 years. My wife ocasionally indulges in conversation about my love of baseball, but she likes players with personality. She finds the Giants endearing, particularly Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson. Since the trade started developing over the weekend, I've been dropping tidbits here and there about Dickey and what an interesting guy he is. I'm looking forward to getting her hooked on a player from the hometown team for a change.

Is it April yet????
posted by dry white toast at 2:12 PM on December 17, 2012


Toronto sports media is funny. Whenever we give up prospects, we're giving up our future and its the worst trade ever. Whenever we get prospects, prospects never pan out and its the worst trade ever.

Someone please bring back hockey so I can stop paying attention to baseball again, but at least its more interesting than basketball and TFC news.
posted by captaincrouton at 2:23 PM on December 17, 2012


Here's a great slow motion view of that knuckleball
posted by exogenous at 7:39 AM on December 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ha. Even the catcher seems confused at the end.
posted by mediareport at 6:27 AM on December 22, 2012


The catcher totally flinches. He makes the catch, but his head turns abruptly the wrong way. It would be funny if I didn't feel sorry for any knuckleball catcher. Even with no men on base, he is constantly fighting the pitch. Umpire must appreciate and have trust in a Knuckleball catcher too.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:24 PM on December 23, 2012


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