Thursday, June 7, 2012

Really Awesome

Once again, at a particular moment when the Mets needed a solid pitching performance to lead them to victory, R.A. Dickey answered the call and delivered the goods.

Not to belabor the point, but this is what he's been doing all season long.

In a season where the Mets have basically been giving everyone a nice kick in the ass, R.A. Dickey seems to have emerged as the head ass-kicker. His journey to get to this point already well-documented, he now is the Major League leader in Wins after his solid effort this afternoon. Who the hell thought that was going to happen?

Shortly after Opening Day, I bought a copy of Dickey's new book, "Wherever I Wind Up." Among the more compelling sub-stories I found in his tale (I haven't said much of the book, my brief review would be that it's a good book and a quick read, a must for any Mets fan, or anyone who has been a fan of Dickey's. A bit melodramatic at times, but then, that just seems to be Dickey's style of writing so it works.) was how he learned the Knuckleball. Something that began mostly as a forcible suggestion by Texas Rangers management took on a life of its own. Not only did Dickey learn the Knuckleball, he studied it. He picked the brains of multiple Knuckleballers. He grew as a Knuckleballer, and eventually, he managed to find success with it. And now, he's begun to reinvent the Knuckleball. He can add a little juice to it and slip it past hitters. He can take something off and "Bugs Bunny" the pitch at 59mph. Whatever he's doing, he's doing it well enough to keep hitters constantly off balance. The results of his quest have, to this point, been an overwhelming success. Upon his arrival with the Mets, nobody gave him much thought. Little more than another ship passing through town. I myself predicted he'd give up 7 runs in 2.2 innings in his first start and be gone before anyone noticed.

It's over 2 years later, and he's not only still here, he's not only exceeded anyone's expectations, and now, he's on top of his game. He's the guy we find ourselves wanting out there when victory is needed. He's the guy who's delivered solid start after solid start, winning effort after winning effort. His story is emblematic of these Mets: "Quit" does not exist in their vocabulary. And that's why he leads the Major Leagues in wins, he's threatening the Mets all-time consecutive scoreless innings streak, and he's going to be rewarded with his first trip to the All Star game in a month or so. In a year that's been full of surprises for the Mets, why not?

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