Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. R.A. Dickey won the National League Cy Young Award for 2012, becoming the first knuckleballer in history to win the award. And it wasn’t close.
Dickey received 27 first place votes out of 32, proving that the voters haven’t completely lost their minds. Gio Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw had great seasons. Cy Young worthy seasons. And I had every reason to believe that something was going to keep Dickey from winning the award, whether it was Gonzalez making the playoffs, or Kershaw’s better ERA and WHIP. I wouldn’t have blamed the voters. I just would have blamed Tony La Russa. (And doesn’t he look like an idiot for not starting Dickey in the All-Star Game as he should have?)
R.A. wrote an amazing book. In 2012, he wrote an amazing epilogue. You could say that a narrative such as this one swayed the voters … that it was the tiebreaker among the close numbers between the three finalists. But that would take away from the season that Dickey had. Leading the league in strikeouts (welcome back, Adam Greenberg), going a span of six starts giving up only two runs and pitching two one-hitters in a row, winning 20 games for a bad team with a defense that the New Orleans Saints laughs at (wins might not mean as much to people as they used to, but those are 20 wins that Dickey certainly didn’t deserve to be punished for) … it doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.
But it’s the story, and the soul of the author that wrote it, that will put 2012 on the individual best seller list for a long time. He didn’t need the award to validate the season he had, or the journey he took to get to this season. But for him to be recognized for this season, and to pass that recognition on to Mets fans is something that actually does make a small part of 2012 special. I went to Tampa in hopes of seeing a no-hitter. I had a feeling it would be Dickey. And except for a questionable hit call in the first inning, Dickey delivered. I saw three games in Tampa, all Met victories. But Dickey’s performance that night made the $750 I spent on that trip worth every single penny. (And oddly enough, that night he beat the guy that turned out to be the A.L. Cy Young winner … this couldn’t have happened all that often.) It was probably the highlight of my year. I also went to Dickey’s 20th win, and that night in Tampa was still probably my favorite game that I attended last season (and I’m not alone on that).
Dickey shared his award with Met fans tonight. He doesn’t have to. What he gave Met fans during the season was quite enough. Now we can only hope that he gets the chance at another season like that … as a Met. Because you know if the Mets do trade him they’ll find a way to screw it up. But even if they do screw it up, 2012 will forever be a best seller.