Yankees

R.A. Dickey Rooting For Rival Tampa Bay In Wild-Card Race

Knuckleballer Talks Playoffs, Blue Jays, Yankees & Mets On WFAN
R.A. Dickey (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

R.A. Dickey (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN) — Toronto Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey says he’s rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays to hold on to one of the American League’s two wild-card spots.

Wait, a professional ballplayer cheering on his AL East rivals? That seems odd, but Dickey isn’t about to make any apologies.

“I’ve gotta be honest. I can’t give you lip service,” Dickey told WFAN radio’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Wednesday. “I’m pulling for Tampa.”

Dickey said he simply likes Tampa Bay and the style of play that manager Joe Maddon brings to the table. The Rays, sharing just a half-game lead with Texas in the AL wild-card race, will travel to close out the season in Toronto next week.

“I get to face them,” Dickey said. “So it’ll be another chance for me to be a spoiler, you know?”

Dickey sure spoiled the Yankees’ night on Tuesday. He baffled the Bombers with his knuckleball, striking out eight over seven scoreless innings as New York fell 3.5 games out of a playoff spot.

But Dickey said Yankees fans “have to be pleased” with the job manager Joe Girardi has done this season, especially with all the injuries and distractions in the Bronx.

“Listen, they’re not out of it even now,” Dickey said. “With 11, 12 games left in the season, that’s remarkable.”

Dickey also touched on the New York Mets, who traded him after his NL Cy Young Award season for a package of Blue Jays prospects; former teammate Matt Harvey’s decision to put off elbow surgery; and the two AL teams that he thinks will be toughest to beat in the playoffs.

As for his own club, Dickey admitted the re-tooled Blue Jays — who had a ton of injury issues themselves — were overhyped going into 2013.

“Looking back, it was way too much hype,” he said. “You have two choices: you can either downplay it or you can buy into it. And I think as a team, we wanted to buy into it, because we really believed we had the personnel on paper to be really, really competitive in the division. We are in the toughest division in baseball. … You lose a little bit of rhythm when you don’t come out of the gate quick. And we didn’t come out of the gate quick.”

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