If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know of my fascination with the knuckleball. I found it quite unexpectedly, by meeting Frank Viola, III (you can read that story HERE.) Viola, was being tutored by Blue Jays’ pitcher, R. A. Dickey, also a knuckleballer.
Living in Dunedin, I had seen Dickey around town and discovered that we share a hairstylist. I had gone to see her and since she knew I was a baseball fan, she was very excited to tell me about her “famous” client. I found it cool that I had the same stylist.
I took to watching every game that Dickey pitched. With the way that Viola spoke of him, I got the feeling that he was a great guy and I respected the way Dickey was helping my friend along. Once I started watching Dickey pitch, it became, “must-see TV” for me. Every fifth day I’d watch him pitch or at least the highlights.
So when Spring Training came, my one goal this year was to try to get his autograph for my collection. I never managed to be in the right place at the right time. I had heard he was going to pitch at the minor league complex this morning and even though we had tickets to the Phillies-Jays game, I considered just not going so that I could try to get Dickey’s autograph.
Baseball Ross convinced me with my schedule, I just didn’t have time to make it to see Dickey, the ball game and my appointment at the end of the day, so I just went to the game. If you saw the “highlights” you know it wasn’t an easy game to watch. During the 5th inning, Ross and I decided to head home. On the way to the gate, I saw the Major League Alumni charity auction table. I jokingly said, “The only way I’m going to accomplish my goal is to buy a Dickey ball.” Wouldn’t you know it? There was one…and only five minutes left in the auction.
There was only one name on the list and it was at the reserve price of $80. I bid $85, the next increment and waited. When it was over, they circled all the winners names….and I won! I felt great. I finally got my Dickey ball!
Then, the person who had bid first came to see if he won. He was 10 and very sad he didn’t win. I felt so bad about that, but rules of the auction were rules. I went home and got ready for my hair appointment. I took the ball with me to show my stylist, I thought that may be I’d take a picture of the two of us and write about it.
What happened next, blew me away. Andi was so happy to see me when I arrived…she had something for me…
Dickey had been in to see her and she had told him about me, so he left me this little note! Oh My GOD!
I could have fainted. I was as giddy as a school girl. I thought the note was one of the most thoughtful and amazing gifts I’d ever been given.
I started the day thinking my ONE goal for the season wasn’t going to happen and the day ended with not only a signed ball but also a personal note from R. A. Dickey! I’m still in shock! What a great day!