The suggestion that the New York Mets "intend to follow the Boston Red Sox template" is not news, but more of the same; more of what Sandy Alderson has been saying since Day One.
You can learn a lot about a baseball team from its locker room. The clubhouse is where relationships form, character is revealed and leaders speak out (or not). For the major league rookie, clubhouse real estate is valuable -- sometimes priceless. Imagine being the rookie who spent eight months out of the year next to Sandy Koufax? Roberto Clemente? Lou Gehrig? Tom Seaver? These were model athletes, wise and humble men, who used their talent to teach.
The last time I spoke to R.A. Dickey it was 2010. It was a late spring morning in Port St. Lucie and he was sitting, legs crossed, on a wooden stool, Mets pinstripe pants, three-quarter sleeved t-shirt, stirrups, no shoes, quietly gnawing on a hot dog and eating baked beans off a paper plate in front of his temporary "space" in the New York Mets locker room. From a distance, Dickey appeared lost and alone amongst the anxious rookies and loud overconfident veterans. In hindsight, he probably was -- at that moment in time.
Twenty years from now this will be a Trivial Pursuit question: Who was the first player in Major League Baseball to tweet during a game? Flip the card and the answer will say -- Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers. At Tuesday night's All-Star Game in Kansas City, @TheRealMattKemp fired off the first player tweet:
One of the wonderful things about a baseball season is its unpredictability, and in 2012, the first half of the season has been about as predictable as one of R.A. Dickey's dancing knuckleballs. No one expected -- or could have predicted -- what's happening in the National League East.
On Wednesday, Fox Sports radio station 104.3 WYKE in Florida invited me on their afternoon show to preview the Mets-Rays game that evening. The 10-minute interview lasted nearly 30 minutes, not because of anything I said or did, but because Richard and Bryan (the show's hosts) took a serious interest in R.A. Dickey. They're not the first -- and if he continues to pitch the way the has over his first dozen starts of the 2012 season -- they won't be the last to make Dickey the focus of sports talk radio conversation.
The Mets left New York just in time. As snow pounded the northeast, players, personnel and media settled into their respective villas in sunny Florida. Then, without warning, on Day One, snowflakes started dancing in the air at the Post St. Lucie complex.