MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre denied the New York Mets' appeal to turn R.A. Dickey's recent one-hitter into a "no-no," and the 37-year-old knuckleballer is perfectly content with his decision.
"It was nice that the Mets wanted to do it," Dickey said of the appeal, according to an MLB.com report. "It wasn't ever my idea in the first place. But in truth, I'm fairly relieved that it ended up the way that it did."
Dickey added that a successful appeal would have resulted in "an asterisk bigger than the no-hitter itself."
Dickey's assessment is absolutely on the money.
While it would have been nice to have a second New York Mets no-hitter this season after baseball fans in the Big Apple had to wait 50 years for the first one, MLB made the correct decision in denying the appeal.
The way I see it, whether or not David Wright's unsuccessful attempt to barehand Tampa Bay Rays slugger B.J. Upton's slow roller down the line in the first inning of the game was a hit or an error, it changed the entire complexion of the game.
From that moment on, Dickey no longer had to face the pressure of trying to throw a no-hitter. Once the official scorers at Tropicana Field ruled the play a hit instead of an error, Dickey felt like he was pitching in any other game.
Half the battle of pitching a no-hitter is dealing with the mounting pressure as the game progresses.
As a no-hit bid reaches the later innings, fans start cheering and clapping raucously, while teammates start acting awkward and avoiding the pitcher in the dugout.
It's a mental struggle for the pitcher to focus and shine in the face of adversity.
Dickey didn't have to deal with any of that because he gave up "a hit" in the first inning, which took a ton of pressure off him.
In comparison, Matt Cain's perfect game for the San Francisco Giants, which also occurred on June 13, featured a rowdy crowd that stood on its feet for each of the final three innings until the pitcher sealed the deal on the victory.
Facing that kind of pressure, even in a 10-0 blowout, completely changes how a pitcher approaches the game. Cain faced a slew of growing distractions as his game reached its later stages, while Dickey, on the other hand, was able to settle in because he had already given up a hit.
In Dickey's performance, he was smooth sailing without a care in the world. I'm not saying that he would have cracked under the pressure of a no-hit bid as the game reached its later innings, but that scenario would have changed everything.
In my view, Wright's botched barehander should have been ruled an error.
However, since it was determined a "hit" on the field and Dickey completed the rest of the game thinking he had already given up a hit, the appeal to turn his performance into a no-hitter was ill-advised.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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