“I certainly believe in redemption,” Dickey says of his decision to be so forthcoming in the book. “Hope and redemption go hand in hand, but in order to get to redemption you have to walk through quite a bit of darkness, and for me, being honest about a past that was difficult and dark is part of the process of becoming fully me.”
But at its core, the book is a tale of twin journeys, those of his professional life and his personal life, that both reached tipping points when he was in his early 30s — and that, as Dickey discovered, were not actually separate journeys, but facets of the same one.
“Do you think that it’s a coincidence that when I was finally able to stop hiding as a human being, I also stopped hiding as a pitcher?” Dickey wrote. “I don’t.”
A chance to explore
The Most Interesting Man in Baseball steps off his Yellow Line train at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro stop, walks across the overpass and climbs down to the platform to catch the Green Line to the Navy Yard/Nationals Park stop. Not one person appears to recognize him during the approximately 20-minute ride from the team hotel to the stadium.
Dickey is a connoisseur of urban subway systems, riding them in any road city where there’s a stop at the ballpark, and at even at home in New York. “New York’s subway system,” he marvels, “is the eighth wonder of the world.”
He mentions the San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington among his favorite subway systems on the road, although nothing, he said, compares to the old Canadian cities of the Pacific Coast League — Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, none of which remain in the PCL.
“Calgary, now that was an awesome subway system,” he says. “You’d ride to the stadium, get a table at an outdoor cafe downtown, and ride back to your hotel.”
Dickey values both the opportunity to explore a city the way the locals get around, and the element of adventure it brings. He has gotten lost more than once. One time, in Washington, he switched to the wrong train, ascended to the street level to get his bearings and found himself outside of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Realizing he had a little time to kill before he needed to be at the ballpark, he went inside.
“I have,” he says, “a very devout interest in growth.”
Though he has been in professional baseball for 16 years, and first broke into the majors 11 years ago, it was only in 2010, his first season with the Mets, that Dickey established himself as a solid, dependable, effective big league starting pitcher. First, he had to straighten out his life, and crooked-out his pitches.