Interesting stuff this morning from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, who spoke to R.A. Dickey on the eve of his final start of the season, which will be tonight at Rogers Centre. The weather forecast currently says it will be clear, 16 degrees Celsius, with a light wind– a perfect early-autumn evening– and yet, if Dickey gets his wish, the dome will be closed.
Kennedy notes that Dickey “ stopped short of saying he wants a say on when the roof will be open or closed next year,” but for tonight, the pitcher says that it’s his “hope they will so it’ll give us one more measurement before the year’s up.”
“Ultimately (team brass) will want that information,” Dickey tells Kennedy. “I would think that winning is the thing they place the most emphasis on.”
They might… they might…
But they might not risk pissing off the paying customers who’ve already suffered so much this year and may be unimpressed with the idea of spending a nice fall evening indoors. In a way, though, tonight may be the perfect test– the Jays have the almost-plausible pretext of cold to use to quash whatever anger the closed roof might engender. If this upsets fans, imagine asking them to sit indoors on those sticky plastic seats, squirming in futile attempts to escape soaking in their own sweat, in the oppressive humidity of a mid-July afternoon.
In that sense I’m for it. And the fact that it’s even a conversation is rather interesting– we’ve always wondered just how much control the Jays can exert over their own roof, and this suggests it could potentially be quite a lot. Unfortunately, as far as the core point of the exercise goes– the little extra nugget of data Dickey hopes get– I just don’t think it really matters.
As Kennedy correctly asserts, “even after a full season it’s still a small sample, which includes plenty of non-roof-related variables, namely the quality of the competition and the quality of Dickey’s knuckleball.”
I wrote about this last week, as well, explaining that, crucially, “the bulk of Dickey’s indoor [home] starts came when he was at his healthiest– in April and early May, and again in late August and September. Almost the entire run of mid-season starts when Dickey was struggling with his velocity due to an ailing back is included in the data for his outdoor starts.”
Obviously, though, Dickey knows himself better than we do. If he thinks that he should have been better during that less-than-stellar mid-season run, and that there were factors other than his health that may have been at play, then sure, give it a crack with the roof closed. Even if he just thinks there’s some kind of tangible Dome Effect and that helps him, by all means, close the fucker up!
Shit, I keep thinking back to the interview I noted in a Daily Duce this week, between pitching coach Pete Walker and Scott MacArthur of TSN.ca, where we were told that at some point early on he had “some things that he was tipping,” and the game against Boston where he threw batting practice for an inning before settling down– an inning which, if you remove it from his sample of closed-roof starts, brings his closed-roof ERA for the season down to 2.79. Or, at least, it brought it down to that point as of September 19th.
But obviously there are some huge, huge variables here. And data sets that are woefully small, and still quite volatile– as the removal of the single inning against Boston, which drops Dickey’s ERA a full run, demonstrates. So… yeah, I’m just not sure how badly I’m into stewing inside the oppressive humidity of the closed dome in mid-summer for some superstition. And right now, that’s all it is.
If it works, though, I guess. Can’t be much more miserable in there than it has been this year, right? HEYO!