February 14, 2013
By Kiley Roache
R.A. Dickey started playing pro baseball in 1997, but it wasn’t until 2011, when he showed up for camp after signing with the New York Mets, that he knew he’d be playing in the Major Leagues the following year. Last season he became famous, not only for his back-to-back one-hitters, but also for the unconventional way he achieved them: Dickey uses the knuckleball—historically dismissed as a trick pitch—as his primary pitch.
Following his remarkable summer of 2012, Dickey won the Cy Young award.
During the offseason, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays and began spring training with the team on Tuesday. He’ll play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in early March. Before the Jays started their first workout this week in Dunedin, Fla., Dickey reflected on the past year in a phone interview with The Mash.
Congratulations on winning the Cy Young award this year. What did winning this award mean to you?
R.A. Dickey: I think it really brought a lot of validation to what I do professionally. You know, being a knuckleball pitcher, for the longest time you don’t get a lot of respect because people think what you do is a real gimmick. And so, it’s nice that this award kind of gives a legitimacy to everybody who has come before me, and that’s certainly an award that is meant to be celebrated among all the knuckleballers that came before me.
Before you found success you faced many challenges. Was there ever A time that you felt like giving up?
Dickey: Well, there were a lot of times I felt like giving up. I think I would be lying to you if I said that everything was really easy, and it definitely was not. … I think what kept me going was my faith—being a Christian and a believer, I felt like I had a real something to offer.
“Knuckleball” tells your story in the form of a documentary. If there was going to be a major motion picture made about your life, who would you want to play yourself?
Dickey: (Laughs) I don’t know, that’s a good question. You’re probably better equipped to answer that than me. I don’t know anybody that looks like me. … Who plays Batman? What’s his name?
Dickey: Yeah, there you go. Him. Maybe him. We look a little bit alike when we both have long hair.
Before LAST season, you climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity. Why did you do choose that challenge? And do you think it affected you as a person or as a pitcher?
Dickey: I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for a charity called the Bombay Teen Challenge. And I did that because my personal narrative is such that I gravitate towards outreaches that defend people from sexual exploitation (in a book last spring, Dickey revealed that he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child). … And I think climbing Kili, I really grew as a person, and I got to interact every day with other men that climbed with me. And I got to do something that was really difficult to do, and I got to see things that not a lot of people get to see, and so it made for a very rich experience, and it was really fun.
This time next year, YOU will be …
Dickey: Hopefully, less busy than I’ve been this past offseason. It’s been a great offseason, but it’s been really busy and it’s been really demanding. And so hopefully this time next year I’ll be spending a little more time with my family.
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