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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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R.A. Dickey: More Rad than Icky

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.

14 comments to R.A. Dickey: More Rad than Icky

  • I would welcome the death of the DH, the most obscene rule in the whole of professional sports.

    • Jacobs27

      Did you hear on FOX one week, I think during the Subway Series, actually, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in their infinite wisdom and attunement to the attitudes and aspirations of the baseball fan lauded the DH and bandboxes for their alleged fan-friendliness.

      They were in the process of criticizing Citifield on our behalf, we offense-starved Mets masses. “They’re going to have to move those fences in,” McCarver informed us. Then they referenced Chien-Ming Wang and how he hurt his foot running the bases. And they chided the National League for endangering valuable pitchers by making them actually play the game like every other player.

      Ol’ Timmy went so far as to say that letting pitchers bat was a “very bad idea,” as I recall. Joe Buck agreed, again pleading on our behalf.

      OK. Nevermind the obvious Yankee bias (have a small field and an overpaid DH, yay!). Nevermind the total disregard for the history of the game, that hundred years or so when pitchers batted just fine. What really pissed me off was how they were presenting their (swine-ish) pearls of wisdom as if they were common sense, as if it were the only reasonable position. As if they were giving voice to countless suffering NL fans who have to endure watching pitchers do things besides pitch. Bad for us, bad for the Steinbrenners of the world. Obviously universally terrible.

      But why stop there? Why let your valuable hitters play the field? They could get hurt! We should have 8 designated fielders so the hitters can focus on what’s important and keep those investment-laden bodies safe. And forget running the bases! Designated runners for sluggers and pitchers alike. We can’t subject the fans to slow-footed offense or injury!…

      And so on.

      There are so many reasons to dislike the FOX broadcast, but that one really got under my skin.

      National broadcasters, don’t come into our park and presume to tell us what we think.

  • Ken K.

    Re: Your comments about Darling. Is it just me or does it seem that both Darling and Hernandez have lost a little something off thier fastball this year?

    Neither seems very well prepared, and Gary Cohen is often put in a position of having to clarify or gently correct some off-base remark than one of them has made.

    Or am I just getting tired of hearing the same Inside Baseball cliches night after night, however true they might be.

  • Jacobs27

    For Keith, at least, Ken, I think that’s supposed to be part of his charm.

    He doesn’t look before he verbally leaps and then Gary or sometimes Ron reaches has to reach out at the last moment and clasps his hand as he stretches in full extension over to snag the errant throw of his own words. That mixed metaphor is kind of a case in point, oops… Ronnie is usually a bit more professional, but he’s still gotta have the ex-player crust, it’s what makes him authentic, no…? Is that a tired cliche, too?

    Anyway, relative to a lot of the other ex-player color commentators I’ve seen, Keith and Ron are still among the best.

    I think, though, if he had been sharper, Ron could’ve handled Tejada thing more humorously. Even if it is a stupid umpire ego trip (as are most aspects of the game) it could’ve been more like, “Oops, a little too quick there, young Tejada, don’t wanna rub that ump the wrong way.” And point out the ridiculousness of how touchy umpires are, but also make the point about the reality that as a rookie (and as veteran for that matter) you can’t take anything for granted.

    By the way, Greg, this whole post is definitely RAD!

    • I get the feeling being in American League parks zaps the zazz out of our analysts. They’ve worked hard to know the National League (the National League of modern times, as opposed to Keith dwelling on what it was like to face Don Carman and such) and now this.

      Your comments remain RAD! as well.

  • oldtimebaseball

    How many home runs would Babe Ruth have hit had there been a DH in his pitching days? Would he have ever moved to the outfield to hit even more? Would there ever have been a “House that Ruth Built”? Would the Yankees ever have become a dynasty? Come to think of it, maybe the DH isn’t so bad :)

    • Sure they can use Ruth as a pinch-hitter if they’re short on the bench, but you don’t want to take any chances with that left arm of his. He also better not exceed his pitch count.

  • Lenny65

    The last Met pitcher before Dickey to have a 4-0 record after his first 5 starts was Terry Leach? Really? Damn, that was a long time ago. The statistical anomalies and general weirdness of our team history never ceases to amaze me. Here’s hoping that Dickey goes on to carve himself a spot in Met history next to Leach, who was one hell of a useful and effective guy for us back in the day. And he had that really cool sidearm delivery, too.

    • Scott L.

      Terry Leach is my uncle and I really appreciate the kind words Mets fans have had for him over the years. I look at the numbers he put up way back then and can’t help but think of the millions of dollars players with worse numbers command now. Terry loved playing the game and made the most of what God gave him.

  • dak442

    The case of Terry Leach should be taught at GM school as how NOT to evaluate and treat players. All the guy did was get people out, but because he wasn’t a hard-thrower or crafty lefty, he got no respect (or permanent place in the rotation). Hopefully the Mets learned something retroactively and give a guy like, say, Dickey his due.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Michael Baranowski, Greg Prince. Greg Prince said: R.A. Dickey: More 'Rad!' than 'Icky!' #Mets http://wp.me/pKvXu-1w9 [...]

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Mets completists might want to know that Terry Leach actually wrote an autobigraphy back in 2000. As these sort of books go, it wasn’t very controversial (or interesting, for that matter), but it’s out there:

    http://www.amazon.com/Terry-Leach/e/B001K8B7S0

  • [...] Chance by Greg Prince on 29 June 2010 12:27 am I sincerely wish R.A. Dickey had continued his recent Rad ways against the Marlins in festive San Juan instead of throwing his first indisputably Icky start. Of [...]