R.A. Dickey seems like a pretty likeable guy. The 38-year-old Cy Young winning knuckleballer was unveiled in the flesh late Tuesday afternoon to a large media throng. He spoke at length about his late-blooming career with the Mets and the knuckleball that saved him weeks ago upon the completion of the trade (Dec. 17) that brought him to the Blue Jays. Dickey's life story, chronicled in his autobiography that was published last year, is raw and revealing and filled with examples of how he has overcome a number of obstacles to reach the pinnacle where he now resides. He was asked Tuesday which hurdle he takes the most pride in clearing? "It's hard to rate them but the feeling that's come with working through the sexual abuse has been pretty incredible for me, it's allowed me to live a life much different than I ever thought possible," he replied. "So that would have to rank up there pretty high. "Not too far behind that is having to become somebody completely different as a baseball player." The act of writing the book, he said, was a healing process for him personally and he hopes it helps others who have suffered the same abuse. "It was a very tough process," Dickey said. "It was full of fear and apprehension and anxiety. Any time you put yourself out there like that, especially with wounds that are as deep as what I was talking about, you run a risk and so, I had to decide that that was a risk worth taking and ultimately it was. I had a lot of support in that. As far as the experience, it was incredibly cathartic. "I think the way that my off-the-field growth as a human being paralleled my on-the-field growth as a baseball player was not coincidental. I think the one had a lot to do with the other. Any time you feel liberated to be who you feel like you're authentically created to be, there's a lot of freedom in it." In Dickey's case, it spilled over to his metamorphosis as a knuckleball pitcher. "It took me a while to really embrace who I was as a knuckleballer," he said. "Leaving who you were as a conventional pitcher behind and saying you're not good enough any more and having to take on something brand new in the hopes of becoming something, that's difficult. As I got better at growing as a human being I got better as a baseball player." The feedback he has had from others has become the gravy in his life. "I'll never forget the countless people at book signings who lean across the table and tell me similar experiences to mine and I had one lady tell me she was going to tell her spouse (about her abuse) for the first time. To be a part of something like that — I love baseball and I'm here to hopefully win another Cy Young and help us win us a world championship — but some things transcend the game, helping other people overcome their adversities and that's the real stuff there."
Toronto Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey has come a long way
Toronto Sun | Jan 9