R.A. Dickey talks extensively about his upbringing and life influences in his memoir, but he includes plenty of contemporary moments, too.
• Dickey recalls David Wright and Mike Pelfrey betting last spring training that Pelfrey could not kick a 50-yard field goal. Pelfrey and Dickey found a football field, with the aim of practicing for the challenge. The field was locked, so the duo hopped a fence. Pelfrey went on to nail a couple field goals from 50 yards, but his shin hurt so much from booting the football that Pelfrey could barely press the gas pedal on his vehicle during the ride home. Dickey convinced Pelfrey to call off the actual challenge with Wright to prevent really injuring himself.
• Dickey has a funny story about Alex Rodriguez. He is recalling a one-hit shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies while with the Mets, and flashes back to his previous career shutout -- with the Texas Rangers against Detroit. After that game, A-Rod congratulated Dickey and said, "You have me to thank for that. ... I called every pitch from shortstop" by relaying the signs to catcher Einar Diaz. The next game, Dickey recalled, he gave up six runs against the Royals and asked A-Rod afterward about his contribution. "No, I didn't call the pitches tonight," A-Rod replied.
• Dickey reveals that after being Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya's first cut in 2010 spring training from big league camp, he called David Lipscomb University to inquire about the process of completing his English degree, which he had started pursuing at the University of Tennessee before being drafted in the first round by the Texas Rangers. Dickey's thought was to finish his degree so he could become an English teacher. Dickey never followed through by submitting his UT transcript and application to Lipscomb. And after a quick start with Triple-A Buffalo, including retiring 27 straight outs in one game after a leadoff hit, he found himself in the big leagues by May.
• Dickey discusses relocating his family to the vacated house of Shawn Green after his call-up and a hotel stay. The power got cut off shortly thereafter, and Dickey and family decided to live by candlelight for five days.
• Reflecting on spring training 2011, when the then-$1 billion lawsuit against Mets owners originally came to full light related to Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, Dickey said the players mostly were insulated from the storyline. Still, he notes, there was occasional gallows humor among the players, including punchlines such as: "Maybe we'll be staying at Motel 6s on the road this year. ... I hope they didn't have our per diem money with Bernie. ... Is it true David Wright's going to be piloting our charter?"
• The Madoff humor appears a few pages later, too, when Dickey is talking about applying a solvent called Tring to a broken fingernail during a game. He writes: "I can dab on Trind until Bernie Madoff gets out of jail and it's not going to address the central issue: the broken nail is too short to allow me to grip my knuckleball." The kicker is that Theresa Corderi, the team's popular cook -- after the nail severely splits a few days later -- takes Dickey to a nearby Korean nail salon to get acrylic applied. Cost: $7. The knuckleballer, in full uniform, returns 10 minutes before a game and ultimately is able to make his next start.
• When Dickey tears a band of tissue in the bottom of his foot last season at Wrigley Field, he intentionally minimized the pain to team doctor Jonathan Deland, then takes a shot of Toradol in the backside before all of his starts the remainder of the season. Dickey said he always advises young pitchers to avoid the DL at all costs, since your replacement can be your successor.