As you may have heard, R.A. Dickey will not be starting the All-Star Game for the National League. Instead, Tony La Russa has opted to go with Matt Cain. This was an absolute terrible choice and there were so many reasons to go with Dickey. I am not sure if there is anyone more upset about this than I am.
(Note to readers: If you are going to ask, "Why the ranting and raving?" and tell me that my writing is all just "nyah, nyah, nyah" then you will not enjoy reading this post. Do not continue reading. Instead, click here.)
First you have the stats. Dickey beats Cain in just about every important category.
Dickey's ERA is 2.40 whereas Cain's is 2.62.
Dickey has given up 5 less hits than Cain.
Dickey has given up 3 less home runs than Cain.
Dickey has also struck out 5 more than Cain.
Dickey's FIP is 2.76 while Cain's is 3.12.
Dickey's BAA is .200 and Cain's BAA is .205.
Dickey's WHIP is .93 while Cain's WHIP is .96.
Dickey's xFIP is .286 while Cain's xFIP is .355.
Dickey's tRA is 2.95 while Cain's is 3.36.
Dickey's WAR is 3.2 while Cain's WAR is2.7.
Many of these stats are very close, but nonetheless, Dickey still has the edge in all of them.
Furthermore, Dickey doesn't just get a higher percentage of hitters out than Matt Cain does, Dickey gets BETTER outs. What I mean by this is that when hitters make contact, they make weaker contact versus Dickey than versus Cain. Check out these stats:
Dickey's line drive percentage is 19.6% while Cain's is 20.7%.
Dickey's ground ball percentage is 51.2% while Cain's is 34.1%.
Dickey's fly ball percentage is 29.2% while Cain's is 45.2%.
As you can see, over half of contact against R.A. Dickey is a ground ball. When hitters hit R.A. Dickey, they don't really hit the ball hard. Instead, they barely make a cheap little contact and the ball doesn't leave the infield.
On the other hand, almost half of Matt Cain's contact results in a fly ball. When you combine fly balls and line drives, approximately two-thirds of balls that hitters hit against him result in solid contact, or balls hit into the outfield. Matt Cain has greatly benefited from the terrific outfield defense of his teammates. The Giants have Angel Pagan, Nate Schierholtz, Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco patrolling their outfield. Conversely, Dickey's outfield help consists of a rookie center fielder and a sluggish converted first baseman in right.
Not only does R.A. Dickey DESERVE to start the All Star Game more than Matt Cain does, Dickey has an incredible story that everybody can appreciate. While the start should be awarded on merit and not who has a better life story, the fans want to see Dickey pitch. He is an inspiration and a national headline. Not only that, but R.A. Dickey is a human interest story. Even if you don't like sports, you can still appreciate what R.A. Dickey has done. Starting Dickey would be incredibly marketable and many non-baseball fans would tune into the game to watch him pitch.
Here you have a man that was born without a UCL in his elbow. Doctors say he shouldn't even be able to turn a doorknob without feeling excruciating pain. It is a miracle the man can even throw a baseball, let alone become a pitcher in the Major Leagues. Dickey was molested as a child, and he considered killing himself when he got older. But he chose to bear through the pain, and keep pushing to make his life harder. He played 5 seasons in the minor leagues before cracking the bigs. When he finally did make the majors, he didn't play well at all. From 2001 to 2009, Dickey had an ERA of 5.42. From 2006 to 2010, he bounced around in 5 different organizations. BUT HE NEVER GAVE UP. Dickey learned how to throw a knuckleball after his attempt at being a conventional pitcher didn't go so well, and he worked hard to perfect the pitch. At age 35 he had his first successful big league season and at age 37 he made his first All Star team. Quite a story for someone who shouldn't have ever even been able to play baseball.
To me, R.A. Dickey is the exact reason I love baseball. He is a man that endured a terrible life early on, and had a million problems in front of him, but he worked hard and never gave up. When he finally reached the major leagues, he still didn't give up. For over ten years, he was just a scrub that nobody cared about, that nobody thought would ever be any good at all. But suddenly, out of nowhere, at age 37, R.A. Dickey became the best pitcher in Major League Baseball (translation: R.A. Dickey became the best pitcher in the world). And it was all thanks to hard work, perseverance, and determination.
R.A. Dickey is truly my role model and my hero. If nobody has ever said this already, let it be known that I am the first person to say that I want to be just like R.A. Dickey when I grow up.
And that is why R.A. Dickey deserves to start the All Star Game over Matt Cain. Tony La Russa, you have made a horrible mistake.