It would be an understatement to simply say that last season was a disappointment for R.A. Dickey of the Toronto Blue Jays. The former Cy Young award winner was coming off the best season of his career with the New York Mets in 2012 and was poised to help make a revamped Blue Jays team a contender in the AL East.
Those plans went sour quickly as Dickey started off the season in a way that seemed to dictate how the entire season would end up turning out for the whole team: Horribly.
The good news for Dickey is that he knows he is a master of his craft and he has proven to many that he is indeed a professional. Dickey has persevered through a lot during his 11-season career, so there’s no reason to believe that Dickey can’t muster up the magic he saw his knuckleball create with the Mets in 2012. You have to remember, Dickey managed to finish off last season on a decent note after having a terrible first half of the season, and he will look to carry that momentum into 2014.
Now that Dickey has been named the Opening Day starter for the Jays when they take on the New York Yankees on April 4 in Toronto, there is a certain amount of pressure that the knuckleballer will have no choice but to accept when he takes the mound for the first time in the 2014 regular season. Not to mention, the Jays still have an incomplete starting pitching rotation, which definitely doesn’t make things easier for Dickey.
He will have to use this as motivation in order for him to lead by example and have his unbelievable professionalism rub off on young pitchers such as Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison to ensure that the rotation is rounded out nicely.
The Jays are entering this upcoming season with a lot of uncertainty. However, having a pitcher like Dickey who has been through so much during his career while finding a way to persevere can only help them down the road. If Dickey can find a way to lead by example and make his knuckleball dance once again, there’s no reason to believe that the Jays can’t in fact make it to the big dance come the end of the season.