A TTM Success for the Mets Home Opener
April 8th, 2011 by slangon
So the Mets are playing their home opener later today against the Nationals with the incomparable R.A. Dickey taking the bump for the Mets. They enter the first home stand with a .500 record after splitting their first road trip 3-3. I’ve got to say that I have mixed feeling on the season so far.
On one hand, as a fan it’s infuriating that they lost 2 in a row to the Philthys. The 11-0 loss yesterday was just ugly and embarrassing and the 10-7 loss the day before seems like a wasted opportunity considering they came back from 7-0 to tie the game. I’m worried about Pelfrey for both the way he’s performed so far and for how he’s going to bounce back from such bad outings. He kind of strikes me as the type of guy who could let things like that get into his head and affect his performance going forward.
On the more positive side, they were able to play .500 ball both on the road and against the N.L. East, which are 2 things that they did horribly last season. They were 32-49 on the road last year and 31-41 against their division rivals. It took them until June 11 to win their first road series and until September 6 to win their first road series against an N.L. East team. So the fact that they played .500 baseball on the road, against division rivals and got their first successful road series, against the Marlins, out of the way early are positives in my book. They also swung the bats pretty well during the series. They were aggressive on the base paths and seemed to have a pretty good approach at the plate. Dickey and Chris Young looked really good in their starts and for the most part, the bullpen looked pretty good as well. Overall, I guess I’m happy with the start.
For today, though, I am very excited because the Mets are home and R.A. Dickey is pitching. And speaking of Dickey…
I actually got this one back a while ago, but between work, the baseball season starting up, and having a new baby, I’ve just got around to posting this now. Despite my declarations that I was going to make an effort to send out more TTM requests this year, I only managed to send 3 out the Mets Spring Training camp. This was the 2nd one I got back and one of my favorites so far.
2011 SlangKo Everyday Joes #6 R.A. Dickey
Although Jose Reyes is still my favorite Met (at least for now), R.A. Dickey has quickly become a close second. I think there’s a few reasons why I like him.
First, he’s been really good. In 26 starts and 1 relief appearance last year, he won 11 games and posted a 2.84 ERA. In his first start of this season, he picked up the win and didn’t give up any earned runs despite struggling a little. When I see that Dickey is penciled in as the starting pitcher, I definitely have confidence in the Mets chances that game.
Secondly, I’ve become sort of fascinated by the idea of a knuckleballer since Dickey joined the team. It’s almost as if the knuckleball is this magical pitch conjured up by a special breed of pitchers. They’re not like normal hurlers. According to former umpire Ron Luciano “Not only can’t pitchers control it, hitters can’t hit it, catchers can’t catch it, coaches can’t coach it, and most pitchers can’t learn it. The perfect pitch.” R.A. Dickey himself had this to say about his bread and butter: “It’s not a pitch to be mastered, but only executed the best you can. Charlie Hough told me he learned the pitch in one day and spent a lifetime learning how to throw it for strikes.”
Thirdly, Dickey himself fascinates me. He just seems like a really interesting dude. He’s really well spoken and well read, which you don’t find that often in athletes. I don’t mean to imply that all athletes are lumbering apes that can barely speak, but Dickey has said that if he wasn’t a professional ball player he would probably be an English professor. I was reading about an interview he did last year where the interviewer asked him what book he was reading at the moment (when was the last time that question was asked of an athlete?). He answered by listing a number of books hes recently read, but added that he only does one at a time as he “finds [he's] able to only truly immerse himself in one narrative at at a time and [he's] unable to enjoy picking up a book, reading a few chapters, then picking up another. To do so would be to cheat [himself] out of really savoring the full flavor of the book only possible with focusing entirely on one experience at a time.” Got that?
It’s also sort of interesting how the media seems to be as fascinated as I am. For every story about a game he pitched, there’s another story about what books he keeps in his locker, or how he rides his bike to the spring training complex 12 miles each way, or how he’s getting set to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro during the off-season.
I’m really glad that the Mets resigned him and I’m looking forward to watch him pitch. And see what he’s going to do next. Maybe build a rocket ship? Deliver a baby in a crowded subway car? Discover a previously unknown species of ape deep within the Amazon jungle? Help the Mets win a pennant?