MAN CRUSH OF THE WEEK: R.A. DICKEY
This has already been the year of the pitcher, with two perfect games and a no-hitter. But Dickey might be the most impressive of all of them, coming off of back-to-back one-hitters. To make it more impressive, he’s a 37-year old knuckleballer.
The knuckleball is maybe the best thing about sports. It’s a trick pitch, bordering on the edge of magic, yet so seemingly simple to throw and hit that it’s almost impossible to do either. I frequently have the thought if I dedicated myself to just throwing knuckleballs I could be in the majors. But with the retirement of Tim Wakefield, only Dickey is left as a knuckleballer in baseball. And he might be having the best year of any knuckleballer ever.
Currently he is 11-1 with a 2.00 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. Those are the numbers of not only an All-Star, but a Cy Young winner. His last two starts he’s thrown complete games, given up two hits, two walks, and struck out 25 batters. I’m going to mention this part again. He’s 37. And throws one pitch. And was out of the majors in 2007 after throwing one game in 2006 and giving up six homers.
But the Man Crushness doesn’t stop there with Dickey. He was a first round pick in 1996 and it was discovered he was missing a ligament in his arm, costing him most of his bonus money. After the disastrous six homer game, he switched to the knuckleball. He spent his offseason climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and writing his autobiography. Plus he has a super awesome beard/hair combo. He’s the type of character missing from sports, the sort of quirky feel-good story who is actually super good.
Perhaps most amazingly, he makes the Mets likable.
DOUCHEBAG OF THE WEEK: ROGER CLEMENS
If R.A. Dickey is everything great about sports/life/hair, Roger Clemens is the complete opposite.
The former Yankee won seven Cy Youngs with his fastball (and steroids). Since his retirement he has spent his time fighting in court to prove he didn’t take steroids (but, you know, he did). And he has been know to sport frosted tips.
I really don’t care whether or not Clemens took steroids (he did) but I do care if now somehow he thinks he was proven to be clean or vindicated or something like that. He made his whole career out of essentially being a douche going from the Red Sox to the Yankees, retiring and unretiring and getting special treatment like not traveling with the team, and throwing bats at players.
Now the government spent a bunch of money trying to prove he lied and took steroids and failed (although he did). He helped prolong the stupid steroids controversy and did nothing to help himself or baseball along the way.
I’ve said many times I think the people who did steroids shouldn’t be penalized. It was a part of the game. It was even pretty much encouraged. To retroactively blame them is stupid. Whether or not he did take steroids is whatever to me really. Except for the fact that he’s a complete tool. He clearly cares a ton about keeping his possible steroid use under wraps so he can get in the Hall of Fame or whatever.
Either way, he’s not making the Hall. But when I start my Hall of Douchebags, he’d be a first ballot induction.