Yes, I am a New York Mets fan, but the fact that R.A. Dickey won the National League Cy Young Award is the best story in sports in 2012. In a year of muck and mire – think Melky Cabrera, Lance Armstrong, the NHL mess, and the New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal – it is refreshing to have a great story about a good guy who got what he deserved.
Dickey’s story is not just a Mets story, but one for all sports fans, for it transcends team glory and becomes a lesson in perseverance and human dignity. For every kid who has thrown a ball against a wall, for every one who has swung a bat, shot a basket, slapped a puck, or tossed a football and dreamt of being in professional sports, this is a story for you.
Looking at Dickey’s career, one would have to be surprised that he got here. Coming into this year, he had never won more than 11 games in a season (2010) and had a career record of 41-50. This is not the stuff of which dreams are made, but since coming to the Mets Dickey has “found” himself, starting more games each year, pitching more innings, and developing that knuckleball with consistency that has helped him find success.
In the three seasons he has been with the Mets he has become the ace of the staff and has endeared himself to the fans. When Dickey won the award, he was as always humble and grateful. The thing that struck me was that he said it was for the fans. He recognized that in a difficult season with not much going for it, the fans needed something for which to cheer. That something was Dickey, as he became the first Met to win 20 games since 1990 and only the third player on the team to win the Cy Young (after Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden). Of course, Dickey said, “To have my name linked to Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden is quite humbling.” Would we expect anything less?