Toronto Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey Leads By Example With Heartfelt Performance


Toronto Blue Jays: R.A. Dickey Leads By Example With Heartfelt Performance

When Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey threw an impressive 7.1 innings of three-hit, one-run ball against the New York Mets Thursday night, many Jays’ fans were pleased to see the 40-year-old knuckleballer get back on track.

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Although he walked five batters in the first three innings, we just thought that he was battling home plate umpire Mark Wegner and the nerves of facing his former team.

Instead, a day after his great performance, we learn that Dickey was battling much more than just the in-game elements. He was battling the loss of his father, Harry Lee Dickey, who passed away on Tuesday. Much like Brett Favre on Monday Night Football, Dickey gutted through his loss and delivered a memorable performance.

For all the criticism Dickey has endured during his tenure in Toronto, there is no denying that his complex character has become a constant figure of leadership in the Blue Jays’ clubhouse. Often quiet and reserved, Dickey’s heartfelt 120 pitch outing spoke loud and clear to his teammates and won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

When you spend nine months of the year with a group of guys like you do in baseball, they become family to you. There’s an indescribable bond that each team develops, where moments like Thursday night enhance team chemistry and have a lasting effect that goes beyond the game of baseball. Come-from-behind victories and walk-offs are great, but gutty performances like Dickey’s — that we don’t often hear about — are the lifeblood of a team. They build character, they bring teammates closer, they add mental toughness to a clubhouse that can transcend a season and propel a team forward.

So on the surface it’s just a memory to us, but if the Jays are competitive down the stretch, don’t be surprised if a player cites this moment as one that was a turning point in their season.

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  • In the meantime, the Blue Jays recalled infielder Munenori Kawasaki from triple-A Buffalo to fill Dickey’s absence. The 34-year-old middle infielder will be available for Friday’s series opener against the Baltimore Orioles and gives the Blue Jays a backup infielder they’ve sorely needed.

    As for Dickey, his next scheduled start is Tuesday at Tampa Bay, but according to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, the Blue Jays have told him to take as long as he needs.

    Under Major League Baseball rules, players can be on the bereavement list for a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven days.

    Regardless of how long he takes, Thursday’s home victory over the Mets is one that will resonate with the Jays’ clubhouse for the rest of the season.

    Next: Mets Give Blue Jays a Taste of Their Own Medicine