200 Miles From the Citi

December 16, 2012 12:45 AM

That Sounds About Right


Sunday Paper (Year 4, Volume LI)

All season long R.A. Dickey has said the right things.

He praised his teammates, the fans, his catchers, and his family all along his path to the National League Cy Young Award.

He shared all of his successes.

Everything was a team effort.

Which is why it was so uncharacteristic this week to hear Dickey offer what was essentially an ultimatum.

But I wouldn't exactly say I was surprised by it.


In fact, I would venture a guess that anyone who read Dickey's book wasn't surprised.

My biggest takeaway from the book? Despite the likeable post-game persona, R.A. Dickey is a pretty selfish guy.

Now, there are tons of reasons for this - a few of which are highlighted in this week's Sports Illustrated cover story. But that's why I'm really not surprised Dickey told the Mets he would be leaving as a free agent after the season if they didn't work out an extension before it. (I was surprised he chose the team's holiday party to say it, but I guess it was going to happen sooner or later. And while we're on the topic, yesterday Ken Davidoff created quite a stir on Twitter with this commentary on Dickey's personality. He didn't even mention the book as a source on Dickey's personality...but clearly has an opinion on how Dickey was viewed in the clubhouse. Seems like he should have backed up his claim a little better.)

You know what, though? I'm not mad about this at all. I kind of understand where it's all coming from. It's not unlike the situation I wrote about when Darrelle Revis got hurt - certain athletes realize when it's time to cash in on their success, and they take advantage of that.

I don't know that there are many athletes who would value an opportunity to cash in more than Dickey, whose early pro career featured more money taken away from him before he even signed than some of us will earn in a decade.

I totally understand his desire to get paid. But from where I sit as a Mets fan, I think it's time for the Mets to play selfish too.

Take advantage of Dickey while his trade value is highest and get some great building blocks in return.

Maybe some feelings will be hurt, but there shouldn't be - It's a win-win for all parties.

*Let me be clear here about Dickey - nothing changes how exciting he was to watch with the Mets these past three years. It was so fun to watch and root for him. But there was always something about his on-field demeanor that was a turn-off, which I think is what Davidoff was getting at. (I'm pretty sure I have written about this, but I tried to find it and I couldn't.) It was always hard to tell if Dickey was mad at himself when an error was made or a questionable infield hit was allowed, or if he was mad at the fielder. I have a thin skin - I know I would get offended if I had committed the misplay and Dickey reacted the way he does. I'm sure it bothered some Mets. But, as I mentioned above, Dickey always said the right things after the games and never pointed fingers. He is a complex, complex man. And, again, the reasons why are all laid out in this week's SI.

*Something else this week was reported that makes total sense to me - essentially the end of the Big East as we know it. I was never a huge college sports guy, and part of that, I think, is because I like to understand everything about a sport to go all-in on it. I had trouble with college sports because I didn't understand the conferences. (I don't think I did until I was well into college.) The Big East was particularly tricky for me because of the differences in basketball and football - I didn't understand why there was no Georgetown or St. John's football team. So I can totally see separating some of those schools out for a basketball-first conference. That makes total sense to me. I don't know about the financial feasibility or what...but I know it would be an easy conference to wrap my head around. I thought all of this conference realignment was confusing and unnecessary...but this is one move that seems like it has to happen.

*This also makes sense to me...let's see if it makes sense to you. I'm having a horrible year with my NFL picks. The Jets, despite the fact that they're still barely alive for a playoff spot, have had a horrible year. I've had a horrible year as a Jets fan and as a football fan. But here I am, rooting for any possible way the Jets could make the playoffs. And that needed to start Thursday with the Bengals playing the Eagles. The Jets needed the Bengals to lose. I was rooting for the Bengals to lose. So I picked the Bengals to win. I figured that way, I couldn't lose. For a while there, it looked like the Bengals would win and not cover. That would have been all too perfect. As it is, they gave me my first win of the week. There are three weeks left in the season. Maybe I can win three weeks of my pool and finish on a positive note. I'm rooting for me and me only these last few weeks.

*The bowl games started Saturday. I picked Nevada, which would have been a huge upset in the pool for me, but they blew a big lead late. (It's a points-based pool, so their loss doesn't hurt me so much as a win would have helped me.) I also had Utah State, so I'm off to a good start. Now I hate the layoff before the next bowl game on Thursday night.

*The centerpiece of the reported R.A. Dickey trade coming back to the Mets would be catcher Travis d'Arnaud. He spent 2011 with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, which was the year I traveled to New Hampshire to check out Brad Holt with the Binghamton Mets. Turns out d'Arnaud started that game - he was 0-for-4. Wish I had watched the Jays' prospects a little more closely back then. Because, you know, that might make a difference in all this. (And no one was happier than me to hear the WFAN report that the trade might drag into Sunday night, because I had all this written before the trade rumors picked up and before Davidoff weighed in, and if a trade had happened Saturday, I might have had to scrap it all.)

*A lot of things made perfect sense to me this week. I understand all about R.A. Dickey, the Big East, and the Jets' playoff chances. What happened in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on Friday I will never understand. As a human being I'm sad. As an educator I'm scared. As a parent I'm paralyzed. Senseless.

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