R.A. is here!
Hey RA, you seem like a pretty cerebral pitcher, do you have any knowledge of advanced statistics/sabermetrics? Dickey be praised!
I pay a little bit of attention to those metrics. But as it concerns me, not as much because what I do is unique. The knuckleball is kind of an anomaly. But I do see the merit in those metrics.
What inspired you to write your book?
I felt like God has given me a very unique story. I wanted to be a good steward with that story. I wanted to tell the hard truth about the things in my life and perhaps lend hope to those that might have had similar experiences.
R.A. : As a Phillies fan, when you pitch against them, you are bound to have a great start. What makes you so successful against certain teams?
Well, what I hope what makes me successful is I have a good knuckleball. That's not necessarily a team thing, that's one me. It's not like I try any harder against a certain team or a team that's capable of hitting me well.
Do you feel that spring training is just very repetitive or do you like it in that you get a lot of work in and get a lot out of it?
I think it's both. I think the repitition is what makes us better. It is repetitive, but it's something that we need. It allows us to hone our skills.
how long did it take to write? Was it a weird offseason activity?
It's taken me about 7 years to put together the book. The actual writing part was over the last year and a half. It was not weird, it was very cathartic.
R.A., do you still keep in touch with any knuckle ball pitchers for pointers?
Absolutely. Whenever I have a problem, I'm much more apt to lean on those guys than I am to lean on my own coaches.
Mets off to a 3-0 start, you pitched an excellant game over the weekend and the Mets missed a no-hitter on Sunday, do the players feel confident they'll be in the heat of the pennant race come September?
Baseball is a marathon. We are happy that we are 3-0, but we're not taking anything for granted. We have to play hard every day, but we certainly feel we can compete.
athletes usually don't write books in the middle of their careers, was it strange that people will know so much about you, even teammates?
It was a risk and it was a risk worth taking for me. I didn't want to hide. I've gotten a lot of encouragement and support from guys who have read the book in the clubhouse.
have guys you know said they learned about you from the book?
Yes. I've had a couple of teammates share similar experiences in their own lives. It seems to be a very relatable narrative.
What are your personal hobbies outside of baseball?
I like to be a full time father when I can. I have four children. Keeping up with them is enough of a hobby for me and then playing baseball.
Is the team feeling looser this year and playing under somewhat less pressure? Everyone seems to have counted the Mets out since before the season even started. You guys seem to be having more fun out there so far this year.
We certainly are under the radar and that enables us to lessen the pressure a little bit.
First of all, thanks for sharing your story and being the type of player my kids can look up to. Speaking of which, my 8-year old son begins his little league season next weekend and he really enjoys pitching (I don't mean to brag, but he's been known to hit 25 mph on the gun) - any tips you could give a young player on the mound?
Just encourage him to play and have fun. I wouldn't get too technical at that age. Just enjoy playing the game. There will be enough time to get into the technical teaching as he gets older. Fuel his passion for the game.
How does New York compare to other places you've played?
New York is the biggest stage that you could play on. The media, the fans. There is a high expectation here. It seems like everybody has a voice. There is a little more pressure to perform well. But you can't let it take you out of being who you are.
R.A, You are an inspiration. When you are on the mound, do you ever wonder, "What in the heck am I doing here", throwing a slow, flutter ball to these great hitters?
Early on in my career as a knuckleballer, I did have that fear. What am I doing throwing a 60 MPH pitch to Vladimir Guerrero. You don't have a lot of confidence doing it. As I threw it more, I got a lot more confidence. It didn't matter who was in the box, I felt I could get him out.
Any of your kids pitchers?
I have a 5 year old boy and he likes to play catch. I don't pressure my kids to be me. I just want them to be them. If they like it, great, if not that's OK too.
I'm a mets fan.what is your guy's excpectations for this year?
Well, we don't set a number of wins or anything. We just want to play hard every game. We want to control the things we can control. Do we make mental mistakes? Do we pitch well? Those are the things that we preoccupy ourselves with. We try to make smaller goals.
after a loss how hard is it to wait to pitch again?
That's the worst job in baseball is a starting pitcher after a loss. But the best job is a starting pitcher after a win.
Could you pitch on three days rest for an extended period of time?
what do you hope people get out of your book?
I hope that people can see a real story of redemption and hope. That although there are adversities in everybodys' life, there is a way to get to the other side.
I appreciate the time. Thanks for chatting.