I have adopted a new all-purpose rating system lately, inspired by the presence on the New York Mets pitching staff of a certain knuckleballing journeyman who has won our hearts and made me lose my mind.
• If I like something, it is “rad”.
• If I don’t care for it, it is “icky”.
Why have I decided to speak like a seventh-grader from twenty years ago? Because when you put together these two polar opposites, rad and icky, you’ve more or less got R.A. Dickey.
Let me show you how it works.
RAD! That would be the pitching of R.A. Dickey, the polar opposite of whoever he’s pitching in place of. I no longer remember whether it is Oliver Perez or John Maine.
ICKY! John Maine and Oliver Perez in 2010.
RAD! R.A. Dickey on Friday night in Baltimore, toying with and torturing the Orioles with baseballs that must have looked hittable but weren’t. Seven innings, one run, no problem.
ICKY! Rod Barajas on Friday night in Baltimore, toyed with and tortured by those same baseballs that must have not looked the least bit catchable and weren’t. Seven innings, lots of problems but just one run. He’s gonna wanna DH next time Dickey starts.
RAD! Dickey’s record is now 4-0. The worst you could say for him since he joined the rotation is he should be 5-0 but was let down by the Met offense in his first start. The only other Mets to be 4-0 after their first five Met starts, per Gary Cohen during the Snighcast, were Ray Sadecki, Harry Parker and Terry Leach. Not who you’d think it would be, Gary added, though it all made perfect sense to me when I heard their names. So does the continued presence of Dickey in our rotation.
ICKY! The thought that this is too good to continue. I thought that of two previous journeymen who weren’t knucklers but who were longshots to persevere as Mets: Leach and Rick Reed. You know when they each stopped being effective? Never. Knock — or knuck — wood that’s the case here.
RAD! Ron Darling made some clumsy reference to A.L. East sluggers as “big knockers”. Gary rescued him by noting in his neighborhood growing up, that would have been pronounced kuh-nockers. I’d like to believe the casual infusion of Yiddish into a baseball broadcast is beshert, but outside of New York, it probably isn’t meant to be.
ICKY! Ronnie admonishing Ruben Tejada for “showing up” home plate ump Ed Rapuano when Tejada (rightly) thought he walked. The kid took off for first on a strike. EEK! Then Ronnie followed it up with the tired bullspit about how the rookie better swing at whatever came next because of the age-old dynamic between rookies and umpires. How about swinging at strikes and taking balls? Sure enough, Tejada took a ball that was high and outside and Rapuano called it a strike.
RAD! Darling eventually acknowledging this version of rookie hazing is idiotic balderdash.
ICKY I’m going to remember Ed Rapuano’s imperious idiocy when it’s his turn to make the horrible call at first base that costs somebody a no-hitter and makes America wince. All the old-guarders will rush to his defense — human element! part of the game! he’s a great ump! they get most of them right! — and it will be as inane as it was for Jim Joyce. Balls and strikes are the last province of umpiring nobody wants to touch or improve with instant replay. Me, I hope they invent a fault-free force field that abides by a standardized strike zone and sends Ed Rapuano and his ilk out to blue pasture.
RAD! Cohen’s description of the Oriole lineup as “money” with the bases empty. Eleven hits on one run against Dickey, Feliciano and Rodriguez. Keep the change, fellas!
ICKY! The DH, even if our temporary use of it resulted in three of our five runs.
RAD! The first major league home run by Chris Carter, a three-run shot by the, uh, Mets’ designated hitter. I didn’t ask for a DH, but as long as they’re forcing one on me, nice to make good use of it.
ICKY! Not so much Interleague play, but all the complaints about Interleague play. We make them, everybody makes them. The only thing more tiresome than two weeks of playing games against teams who have nothing to do with your playoff chances is constantly noting it. And look — I just did it myself.
RAD! We won on the road!
ICKY! Winning on the road seeming rad! We have two chances to nail down an away series for the first time this season. This season’s more than two months old. Whatever league our opponents come from — even if it is from the depths of that league — this trend must be eliminated this weekend.
RAD! Hisanori Takahashi starting Saturday night and matching R.A. Dickey’s strikeout total of eight and making like he’s Tak’tor K.
ICKY! Hisanori Takahashi starting Saturday night and mimicking Maine or Perez and making a Taka-hash of things.
RAD! Fun with starting pitchers’ names.
ICKY! Not knowing when to quit having fun with starting pitchers’ names. The American League overdid its gimmick with the prolonged use of the DH. I don’t want to overdo mine.