An off day to a professional baseball player is one of the greatest things known to man. There are so few throughout the spring and summer that every day without a game is treated like a holiday for most ballplayers, taking as much advantage of the free time as possible. The Mets have an off day today, allowing them time to adjust from their travel from Houston back to New York, but R.A. Dickey isn’t going to be laying low with his “baseball-less” day.
The Met knuckleballer will be at Tompkins Square Park in East Village today at 1:30pm for anyone who wants to showcase the best wiffle ball pitch that they have for Dickey to see. This is just an awesome opportunity that the MLB Fan Cave is putting on, and the only bad thing about it is that it’s during the week, in the middle of the day! This is just another reason why R.A. Dickey is the man; he’s willing to take time out of one of his precious days off to go out in the middle of the day and hang out while a bunch of people showcase their wiffle ball skils; sounds right up his alley actually.
Dickey seems to be taking advantage of his second life in Major League Baseball. What most people aren’t aware of is that he broke in with the Rangers in 2001 as a hard thrower. He and Rangers found out after he was drafted was that he was born without a ligament in his elbow, which Texas felt was a risk to sign him to a big deal. After five years, mostly bad, with the Rangers, where he compiled a 16-19 record and a 5.71 ERA, he signed with the Mariners, and decided to become a knuckleballer. After two mediocre years with Seattle and Minnesota, he really found himself as a pitcher in New York with the Mets, becoming one of the team’s most consistent starters over the last two-plus seasons.
According to Dickey, it takes about five years to really grasp and embrace the knuckleball before it can be effective in a game situation. Coincidentally, he’s in his fifth season using this pitch, reviving what looked to be a career that was near its end. Now, he’s participating in one of the many events he does that gives back to the fans who enjoy watching him take the mound at Citi Field. So, if you can make it this afternoon, try and make it out to Tompkins Square Park tomorrow afternoon, see if you can throw your own knuckleball with a wiffle ball that will make Mr. Dickey blush himself.