Archive for the ‘RA Dickey’ Category

dickeyface2014ST

To answer the title posed by this question… er… the question posed by the title: maybe?

It’s been optioned, at least, according to Deadline.com, and Buzz fucking Bissinger is apparently on board to write the script, along with a couple of actors/producers I’ve never heard of that were both apparently in The O.C.

No, really.

Actors Ben McKenzie andLogan Marshall-Green have joined forces to launch the shingle A Thing Or Two Productions. They come to the table in a big way. Tom Rothman’s TriStar Pictures has made a deal on a baseball memoir which the duo will produce with Michael De Luca. TriStar has optioned Wherever I Wind Up, the memoir by pitcher R.A. Dickey about his unusual life journey. Buzz Bissinger has been set to write the script.

. . .

Dickey was already entertaining bids for screen rights to his book when Marshall-Green and McKenzie flew to Nashville to sit with him. Their enthusiasm prompted the pitcher to entrust them with the rights, and they used their own money for the option. McKenzie, a former high school football player in Texas, was understandably enamored of Friday Night Lights author Bissinger, and enlisted him to write the script.

Hoooookay?

Dickey’s is a hell of a story, of course. Eventual Cy Young winners who overcame the kind of personal and professional adversity that he did simply don’t come along every day. In fact, it’s really sort of the perfect tale to be dumbed down into standard fare Hollywood schlock. Everybody wins!

San Francisco Giants v Toronto Blue Jays

This was going to be just one part of a larger post on Day Four of the Winter Meetings, but… it’s done now, and I’m sort of thinking, why hold it while I write up a bunch of other stuff? So… here you go!

An interesting development that, in addition to the Rule 5 draft, I slept through this morning was some talk about the Jays becoming a breeding ground for knuckleball pitchers.

In yesterday’s reignition of the Ohka Crisis the Jays made a shrewd move, giving A.J. Jimenez a knuckleballer– which Ohka returns as– to practice catching with in double-A. The move also means bringing an extra knuckler to camp, in order to give Josh Thole, Eric Kratz– maybe even Dioner Navarro!– the chance to work with the pitch without having to be exclusive with R.A. Dickey

Most impressive of all, though, is that this doesn’t seem to be just a catcher thing:

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dickeyslips

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!

dickeytowel

Trying to correctly read into the numbers posted by R.A. Dickey when pitching either inside or outside at Rogers Centre this season is maybe not quite as tricky as hitting the “capricious animal” that is his bread and butter, but it’s pretty damn tricky.

Plenty was made, when the Cy Young winner was acquired by the Jays last winter, about knuckleballers’ affinity for the neutral conditions inside a domed stadium, which seemed to be borne out by Dickey’s incredible performance in a June 2012 start at Tampa, in which he struck out 12, walked none, and dazzled with his knuckler to a complete game victory. But as we all know, the pitcher has struggled badly in his home park, largely because of his propensity to give up home runs in it– he’s given up 21 of his 31 home runs this season at home.

We now have nearly a full season’s worth of data on how he’s done as a member of the Blue Jays, and I’ve used the game logs and box scores at Baseball Reference to go back through it, separating his starts into ones where the Rogers Centre roof was closed at the start of play, and those where it was open (whether the roof moved after play began is not noted). The differences are rather eye-popping, but for two key reasons that data is rather unreliable.

For one, this experiment forces us to parcel out the data into quite small samples, and naturally that’s going to make it much hard to claim that it demonstrates a pattern being established.

For two, the bulk of Dickey’s indoor 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.

So, maybe this is pointless. But let’s press on, with those heavy, heavy caveats in mind, and have a look at the actual numbers:

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R.A. Dickey Is Really Alright

dickeythrowing

Over at Sporstnet today, Dirk Hayhurst looks at some of the numbers on R.A. Dickey, and finds himself convinced that R.A. Dickey has been worth the $5-million the Jays are paying him this season, and then some.

I can’t disagree, but I must admit, when I saw a tweet from Sportsnet promoting the piece, I figured on seeing some different numbers than the ones Dirk provided. Not that I’m about to quibble with his numbers, but there are ones not touched on that I think are just as impressive as the heavy innings total that Hayhurst mostly cites.

As you’re probably aware simply from having been watching this season, Dickey has steadily gotten better. Dig into the splits, and the differences are actually pretty eye-popping.

Dickey entered his first start after the All-Star break with a 4.69 ERA and has pitched to a 3.56 ERA since. And if you want to get even more arbitrary endpoint-y, he entered his June 26th start against Tampa with a 5.15 ERA and has pitched to a 3.42 ERA since.

And, frankly, that endpoint might not even be so arbitrary.

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dickeyking

This slice of gold (that you’ve probably already seen) from R.A. Dickey’s Twitter feed has spared me from actually using my brain for at least another hour or so, which… fucking eh!!!!

No, you’re mailing in a post!

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R.A. Dick-ulous

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays

I don’t want to steal too much from Dave Cameron’s excellent look at R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball velocity over at FanGraphs… um… except for this chart:

dickeychart

That, as you’ve probably figured out by now, is Dickey’s knuckleball velocity by start this year. And, as you can see– and as is Cameron’s point– it crept over 76 mph for the first time since Dickey left his fantastic mid-April outing in Kansas City with back trouble. This seems to portend well for the pitcher’s health and the possibility of a turnaround actually coming to fruition, for whatever little a single game’s worth of knuckleball velocity data is worth.

I’ll steal one other thing from Cameron’s piece, but only in order to take slight exception to it:

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