R.A. Dickey had to be squirming.
As he carried his 12-strikeout performance with him into the dugout to a standing ovation from an uncommonly sizeable and boisterous Citi Field crowd with two outs in the eighth inning, he must have been privately tortured by the four outs he left on the field. Here came the cataclysmic Met bullpen, poised to add a dose of tension and uncertainty, as is their custom. He was four outs away from his 20th victory, a feat only five other Met pitchers have accomplished in all these years. More remarkably, he achieved this milestone on a team that barely hit, and featured men with limitations and a healthy complement of remorse posing as relief pitchers.
That alone should earn this model of competition, this integrity-rich person on and off the field, the coveted Cy Young Award. He'll have difficulty achieving it, of course, ironically due to the same reason he should win it. Voters typically lean to pitchers who play for teams in pennant races, arguing that they pitched with the pressure of success every time they toed the rubber. They'll be worthy competitors in Gio Gonzalez and Johnny Cueto of the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds respectively. The former has 20 wins as well, while the latter currently has 19. Both play for division winners and, as such, performed in a major role in their teams' quests for a championship.
While it's a reasonable factor in the decision-making process, they should consider the level of complexity and the game-in, game-out hurdles Dickey faced this year on a team without reliability behind him. His 20 victories represent a herculean task. Dickey's story, as well, is a compelling one, as he rose like a phoenix from the ashes of a moribund career, resurrecting it with a knuckleball, of all pitches. How can any Cy Young Award voter be dismissive of that saga? Heck, it embodies the very magnificence of sports, and its place as a metaphor for life - to fail, remain of wholesome character, overcome, and ultimately be rewarded.
Regardless of the Cy Young outcome, congratulations are due, Mr. Dickey. You will forever be feted in Mets history.
Glenn Vallach has been a New York Mets fan since foolishly abandoning the mighty Yankees in his youth after Mickey Mantle retired. Since the fond, fleeting memories of the Tom Seaver, Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee years, he sits quietly yearning for a fraction of the success enjoyed annually by the team that inhabits the borough in which I was born...waiting and hoping...waiting and hoping.
- · Yahoo! Sports New York Mets page
- · Yahoo! Sports R.A. Dickey page
- · Yahoo! Sports Gio Gonzalez page
- · Yahoo! Sports Johnny Cueto page
- · Ronald Blum, The Associated Press, Dickey gets 20th win, leads Mets over Pirates 6-5
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- Johnny Cueto