By Taryn “The Coop” Cooper
He’s a published author. A charity giver. Some regular guy who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for the heck of it. He was featured in a motion picture film.
A southern boy who doesn’t talk like a truck driver nor a NASCAR racer. He’s not only a Major League Baseball player, but he’s a pitcher. He’s played for the Olympic team, but he was told he had no ulnar collateral ligament and could not pitch, He’s not only a pitcher now, he’s a knuckleballer. He reinvented himself as a knuckleballer, which is most important.
Knuckleballers, we were told, don’t win things like Cy Young Awards. Pitchers like him were quirky and not to be taken seriously. Till they were. And he WON the Cy Young Award, for 2012.
All in a years work, or less than a year if you think about it. Since 2012 is not over.
Of course, I’m referring to R.A. Dickey. Tennessee boy, adopted by New York City as one of their own. A guy who uses words like “steadfast” in his speech without blinking an eye.
Besides being self-made, Mets fans love him. I mean, really REALLY love him. On a team where there were many divisive players (only amongst the fans, I’m sure the players really loved someone like Jason Bay who did play hard and I’m sure was a great guy…but ask fans and well…you know), R.A. Dickey brought us all together.
On a September afternoon, when the Mets had nothing to play for BUT for R.A. to win number 20, the fans came out in droves.
We’d like to think that it was because it was the last home game of the regular season. The reality was, it was because of R.A.
The best lesson learned here though is not how one guy brought a fan base to root for a moment larger than them, but that here’s a guy who has chronicled how many times he could have packed his bags, punched in his ticket and left baseball for good. Winston Churchill’s “Never never never never give up” quote probably played in his head. Or rather it was his family who told him not to.
Yet, sometimes life does throw us curves, to use an overdone quote on life that applies to baseball. In R.A.’s case, he took those curves and made knuckleballs. He found an outlet to reinvent himself, and in turn gave himself a renaissance.
We have a lot to learn from someone like him.
On top of renaissance, he’s set a precedence that knuckleballers CAN win the Cy Young Award. Because at the end of the day, he can do what other pitchers who have won in the past have done, and that’s not only put his team in the best position to win, but strike out and not walk and beat other teams.
(He was also the only pitcher who wore a tie and jacket for the announcement, while the other dudes looked like scrubs)
He’s taught us to take the road less traveled.
So we here at Kiner’s Korner not only congratulate R.A. Dickey on his Cy Young Award win for 2012…we congratulate him for becoming part of what makes certain players part of the Kult of Mets Personalities.