Monday, July 5, 2010

Butterfly Outduels Jet Fighter

R.A. Dickey is an interesting fellow. The Mets pulled R.A. off the scrap heap when their number 3 and 4 starters went down, and the guy has been excellent in going 6-1 with a 2.62 ERA.

Dickey of course throws a knuckeball, and bears a resemblance to Will Ferrell. When he faces Adam Dunn of the Nats, it's like Will Ferrell pitching to Will Ferrell.

Knuckleballers are known to be a bit off kilter, and Dickey is no exception. After a recent Mets win, he explained his knuckleball's lively movement as "an overflow of personality," which struck me as a much more interesting thing for a ballplayer to say than the fact that he'd "stepped up" on the day, or the season was "a marathon, not a sprint."

R.A. always seems to have something interesting and at times even sort of mystical to say to reporters after games. Wikipedia cites his full name as Robert Alan, but I can't help but wonder if it's Reads Alot.

UPDATE: In fact, I was correct. In the July 9 NY Times, Dickey reveals his plan was to be an English professor if his Major League career cratered.

The Times writes:
Dickey loves to read. He keeps a volume of writings by C. S. Lewis and the novel “Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel, on the top shelf of his locker in the Mets’ clubhouse.

Dickey faced Batter Chatter's favorite son, Stephen Strasburg, Saturday, and actually outpitched the young stud. Dickey allowed no earned runs over 7, while Strasburg was out after 5. Only a blown save from Frankie Rodriguez spoiled Dickey's seventh win.

The irony of the aging knuckler facing the strapping fireballer was not lost on Dickey.

Reports the NY Times:

The game started out with such promise as the battle between the butterfly, R. A. Dickey, and the jet fighter, Strasburg, went the way of beauty over power.

Dickey, who used that comparison to describe the matchup between his slow-moving, unpredictable knuckleball and Strasburg’s high-octane fastball, outpitched Strasburg.

Dickey had, true to character, an interesting perspective on seeing Strasburg close up.

The Times says:

“It was kind of anticlimactic,” Dickey said. “Not that he’s not very good. He’s good. But I felt like the ball was going to be invisible. I actually saw it.”

Cool stuff.

And while we're slinging around fun Dickey metaphors and observations, we may as well toss in a little poesy too. Times reader Larry Eisenberg offered this up about R. A.

The knuckle ball of R.A.Dickey
Makes his Catcher's chores a bit sticky,
His pitches do flutter
And turn knees to butter,
So many an at-bat's a quickie!

[image: Wikipedia]

No comments: