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NEW YORK (WFAN) – Sure, Tony La Russa may have been worried about All-Star Buster Posey’s ability to catch R.A. Dickey. But that didn’t stop late-night talk show host David Letterman from trying to handle the Mets starter’s knuckleball on Wednesday.
Before the unlikely battery could show their stuff, the “Late Show” host drilled Dickey on his signature pitch, which ideally revolves just a quarter-turn from the mound to the plate.
“Are you squirting — excuse the expression — are you squirting the ball out? Or are you just letting it come out (with) the momentum?” Letterman asked.
“I would say the sensation that I feel when I throw a really good one is like it pops out,” said Dickey. “Not necessarily like a squirting but a popping.”
Dickey showed Letterman — and the audience — how exactly he would grip and deliver the ball. Letterman said he was “dumbfounded” by the starter’s ability to control it, and eventually got his chance to catch a few.
“Oh, man! Oh, that was good!” said the crouching host. “Let me see that again. This is like anti-gravity!”
“Yeah that one had a little something on it,” Dickey said.
Letterman could hardly contain his excitement, at one point exclaiming, “Hee hee, I like this!”
“I feel like I’m at the circus,” the Mets starter replied.
Letterman was surprisingly skilled at catching the tricky pitch, though Dickey admitted afterward to the New York Daily News that he didn’t throw “the super-duper one.”
“Dave asked if he should wear a mask, and I said he didn’t need to,” he told the paper. “I brought a cup (too), but he didn’t use that, either.”
The 37-year-old has been one of the best stories in baseball this season. Once thought to be on the scrap heap, Dickey reinvented his game with the knuckleball — and it’s paying dividends. Selected to his first All-Star game this season, he’s boasted a 12-1 record with a 2.40 ERA and 123 strikeouts so far in 2012.
The Mets posted a few photos of Dickey’s “Late Show” appearance on Twitter, including one of the pitcher explaining how to throw the knuckler to Bryan Cranston from “Breaking Bad” on A&E.
Think you could catch the knuckleball? Be heard in the comments below!