Chat with R.A. Dickey
Dickey won a bronze medal with Team USA in the 1996 Olympics.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, we'll have Toronto Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey stopping by to chat about the baseball season.
Dickey, @RADickey43, the 2012 NL Cy Young winner with the Mets, has helped the Blue Jays to a first-place start in the AL East, with the second-best record in the AL.
Send your questions now and join Dickey Tuesday at noon ET!
Buzzmaster (11:59 AM)
R.A. is here!
Last year, a lot of people thought it would be the Blue Jays' year, but you didn't have the success you had hoped. However this year, you guys are off to a great start...what do you think is the difference in the two years?
R.A. Dickey (12:01 PM)
I think the first reason is simple: we're all healthy. Last year, we were decimated with injuries. Three-fifths of our rotation was hurt after the first two months of the season. We had no Reyes, Rasmus got hurt, Bautista got hurt. It's hard to compete in such a league like the AL East with those kinds of injuries. The personnel is all the same. The health is a big key.
R.A. Dickey (12:01 PM)
And secondary, we know each other better. We have good chemistry.
R.A., how have you stayed focused during the ups and downs of your career?
R.A. Dickey (12:03 PM)
One of the reasons I'm able to stay focused is I understand there is always something to learn. When I go to the ballpark, whether a good game or bad game, I'm ready to learn. I want to learn a lot of different things, not just about pitching but about life and continuing to improve. The knuckleball for me has taken a lot of time and sacrifice. I know there is always something more to learn. That keeps me grounded and engaged in the moment. I hope that never goes away.
considering your name and this clothing brand, how easy of a sell was it for the two of you to get together to do some work?
R.A. Dickey (12:04 PM)
That was a big part of it, obviously. The name similarity was a layup. But I'm not going to be involved with a company just because of the name. I want to know what they represent. The Dickies brand is a 90 year old company. They're reliable. It's a great fit. With the contest we're running, people have a chance to share their stories and what they've overcome. I'm passionate about stories.
R.A., thanks for the chat. How big of an adjustment has it been for you changing back to the American League and facing undoubtedly much tougher lineups everyday?
R.A. Dickey (12:05 PM)
It's certainly a difficult adjustment, because you're facing a DH in league play. You have to be one your game. You can't take a deep breath. When a pitcher comes up, 90 percent of the time, he's an out. There are no breaths like that in an AL lineup. You have to figure out your strategies you need. It's been a real challenge, but a fun one.
your Twitter profile says you are a Star Wars nerd....just how nerdy do you get?
R.A. Dickey (12:06 PM)
Having action figures still in the box from 4, 5, and 6, that's about how deep I will get. I've been to Skywalker Ranch. My nerd dom comes very deep.
will you be reading the stories that fans send in through this knuckleball contest?
R.A. Dickey (12:07 PM)
Yes. I may not be able to read all of them, but I have the ability to read them because I'm interested, but I will read some.
how much do you throw the knuckleball during a game? do you ever think of trying to throw a team off by reversing your trends and throwing a bunch of other pitches for the majority of a game?
R.A. Dickey (12:08 PM)
I throw my knuckleball about 90 percent of the time. I have had the thought about pitching conventionally to throw people off. But the guys here are very good, but I would only probably be able to do it for an inning or two before they caught on. So I stick with the knuckleball.
How hard was it leaving the Mets, after the success you had with them in 2012?
R.A. Dickey (12:09 PM)
Unfortunately, transition and change are a part of the landscape of baseball. Sure, there was a part of me that was sad to leave the Mets and New York. But having come to Toronto, the transition has been seamless. It's been fun to experience all sorts of different cultures.
What's the best thing about the city of Toronto?
R.A. Dickey (12:10 PM)
It's the diversity of cultures that I really appreciate. I can walk down the road and hear 4-5 different languages. The food is great. The arts are here, the theater, museums. I like to spend time going there when I'm not playing baseball. It's been great to get into the culture of the city.
Tim(Chicago) [via mobile]
The knuckleball is a lost art your one of the only ones out there that I know of. Do you ever reach out for help from the fraternity and do you pass it on to others
R.A. Dickey (12:11 PM)
We have a pretty tight fraternity, the knuckleballers. There are only a few that have done it at the major league level. I have spent a lot of time talking to the guys that I know that throw it. I have worked with a number of people that are interested in the minor leagues and amateur levels. It would be a sad thing to think about MLB without one knuckleballer.
How do you like the Jays' ability to continue this stretch of good play with the start to the season you have had?
R.A. Dickey (12:12 PM)
I look forward to it continuing. I don't see why it shouldn't. Our guys are healthy. Our pitching is coming around. It's a matter of consistency, but that's the problem for every team. I don't see why we wouldn't improve on our current record.
Reid (Virginia) [via mobile]
R.A. First, I loved your autobiography. Very moving. Do you have a message to other journeyman players out there?
R.A. Dickey (12:14 PM)
Our conversations revolve around perspective. If you spend a number of years in the minors, you have a different perspective than someone who gets drafted high and makes it to the majors early. Not that one experience is better than another. But I took much time to get here and stay here. It's a rich experience to appreciate the things I have now, because there was a long time where I couldn't enjoy those things.
Does weather affect your ability to grip the ball? As a Braves fan I noticed they seemed to have success against you in ATL but not so much in your home parks. Is it a heat/humidity issue?
R.A. Dickey (12:15 PM)
To grip the ball, the weather doesn't really effect me at all. But the movement of the ball does impact it. I have to take into account a lot of different elements to make my pitch consistent. Those are the challenges. Is it humid? Raining? Dry? Wind? Then I can make the adjustments to get the ball into the strike zone.
How old were you when you started throwing a knuckleball?
R.A. Dickey (12:16 PM)
I turned to the knuckleball full time in 2005 when I was 31 years old. It took me about 3 years where I could compete with it at the big league level. It took me a number of days where I wasn't very good and sticking with it. I had to hope that it would ultimately become something worthwhile.
Toughest hitter to get out?
R.A. Dickey (12:17 PM)
A guy named Omar Infante. He plays for the Marlins, Tigers and now the Royals. For whatever reason he is really good at hitting the knuckleball. Or I've thrown him a lot of bad knuckleballs.
R.A. Dickey (12:17 PM)
I appreciate your time. Thanks for chatting.