R.A. Dickey was the standout ace of the New York Mets this year. His bad luck 8-13 record certainly was unimpressive, but he led the team in ERA (3.28) and WHIP (1.23). He proved he could overcome the first year in Queens. Now the Mets knuckeballer is looking to conquer new heights, 19,000 feet to be exact.
According to ESPN NY, Dickey will try to reach the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro. He is doing it strictly for charity. The Mets don't seem too happy about the contribution for goodwill. If he were to suffer serious injury, he would forfeit his entire salary next year.
It's an odd development, but it raises a question. How far is too far for charity? Is a charity worth risking your career or your life? Granted, he may be, by his own admission, climbing the least dangerous mountains of the major ones like Mt Everest and Mt Fuji, but it's still a dangerous trek for raising money.
In an interview in New York magazine, he had the following to say about that,
"They (the Mets) view it as a dangerous thing. Of course, it's a risk I'm willing to take. I know what I'm doing well enough to know it's nothing more than a glorified hike."
Though it may be easy, you can see the point of view of the Mets. They have invested in Dickey. They are relying on him to perform on the field. If he gets injured on duty, they will be more than happy to cover that. However, if he hurts himself by his own volition, they recognize that they are basically screwed by his bad decision.
In both scenarios, they lose a pitcher, but they would rather be in a position to keep him as healthy as possible. Some athletes do stupid things in their off season. Some play flag football. Some go on reality dance shows. Even some do illegal things to make the headlines really interesting.
With all of that said, R.A. Dickey is climbing a mountain and he's doing it for charity. He's using his time off to benefit another human being besides himself. This act alone is worthy of recognition in this selfish, fast-paced, instant-media gratification society. Seldom are there people both in a position to help and willing to do so as well.
The Mets should be concerned if their players are wife beaters (maybe fiance's father beaters), drug addicts and money launderers, but they shouldn't worry about players using their free time to make a small difference in the world. Those types of players are the ones they should be supporting the most. After all, it's those players that help rescue the tarnished image of New York Mets baseball players of the past.
A message to the Mets: calm down and trust your high character people. If this were a player of lesser integrity your fears may have some validity. He's not. He has some experience and he's not going alone.
A message for R.A.: next time, get the whining Wilpons involved more. Maybe they may make some money off of it and stop their complaining long enough to use the money to pay some debts. Good luck Dickey!