Much has been made of R.A. Dickey’s decision to scale Mount Kilimanjaro in support of the Bombay Teen Challenge this winter. The Mets made their feelings well known, sending their knuckle-balling pitcher a tersely worded letter regarding the potential risks and possibly repercussions should he suffer an injury. Dickey, writing for the New York Times Bats blog, described touching down in Tanzania this week. It is really happening, Mets fans.

As our friend Kevin Kaduk of Big League Stew notes, it is only Dickey’s recent ascent to the pinnacle of the Mets rotation that makes this a big deal. But wait: is Dickey scaling Africa’s highest peak a big deal?

The element of charity does not insulate Dickey from concern nor should it assuage the Mets fears. If he gets hurt and is unable to perform his pitching duties, the Mets are even further up the creek than, well, you know.

The pressing question remains: is R.A. Dickey (and climbing partner Kevin Slowey, about whom nobody is concerned) at any real risk? Literally thousands of people climb Kilimanjaro every year, it is hardly K-1 or the north face of Everest. Nor is R.A. Dickey trying to be this guy:

The risks of altitude sickness and/or falling off the side of a mountain are real enough that Dickey isn’t jaunting up the side of some glorified foothill, hungover, in his New Balances. The Mets have reason for concern just as Dickey as reason to ignore them. He’s a grown-ass man, if he wants to accomplish something awesome like climbing a mountain while at the physical peak (ahem) of his life, good on him.

Hopefully the climb goes off without a hitch. The Mets can chalk their concern up to due diligence and Dickey & friends can raise a bunch of money for a good cause. If not, let’s hope for something dramatic (eaten by a lion?) rather than a sprained ankle during a routine descent. If you’re going to go, go all out!

Comments (6)

  1. “while at the physical peak (ahem) of his life”

    Good to know, since I’m two months younger than Dickey, that I’m in the physical peak of my life.

    • Which is to say: he remains a professional athlete rather than a retired professional athlete.

      • I continue to learn with each passing year that the term physical peak is a relative term. It carries impressive meaning for say George St Pierre…

        If the peak of your athletic career is making the allstar team of your Misquito-age Baseball League.. your “physical peak” is somewhat of a misnomer.

  2. I don’t know shit about mountain climbing but I think even a little frostbite could easily ruin a pitcher’s career…

  3. I’ve become more sick from a violent allergic reaction to cats than I did when I climbed Kili. The 17 porters/guides we had for four people did a damn fine job of making sure our lazy asses carried nothing heavier than a day-pack and had three incredible meals/day. I think we bouldered for a total of 50 metres the whole way. And climate change is taking care of that frostbite problem.

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