Despite winning the 2012 NL Cy Young Award and becoming the first Mets pitcher to win 20 games since Frank Viola in 1990, R.A. Dickey's future in New York remains unclear. On Tuesday night, the pitcher stopped by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to promote his memoir, Wherever I Wind Up, and made it known that he would prefer to remain a Met.
"I'm hoping to be here, man. I love it here," he said to Stewart, a long-time Mets fan.
Dickey discussed everything from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010 to his unique pitching style, the subject of a new documentary, "Knuckleball!" The film follows the career of Dickey as well as other pitchers famous for the floater, such as Tim Wakefield, Phil Niekro, and Charlie Hough -- a group Dickey refers to as the "Jedi Council of Knuckleballers."
"The knuckleball fraternity is so tight, and the bond is so strong, because when you're trying to do something as difficult as throw a knuckleball, there's only a few people who have walked the earth that have done what you're trying to do," he said."
Stewart pointed out that Dickey is even more unique in that he throws the pitch 10 to 15 mph faster than other knuckleballers, topping out at 83 mph this season. Dickey attributes much of his success to this speed, while also noting his need to develop the knuckleball in order to remain in the Majors.
"Most guys that are throwing in the 80s conventionally aren't throwing very long, unfortunately. And that's why I became a knuckleballer," he said. "My conventional repertoire had depleted to the point where if I was going to stay a big leaguer, I had to come up with a weapon that I could get guys out with. The knuckleball was my ticket."
In the second part of the extended interview, Dickey discussed his life outside of baseball, pointing to his high school years as those that developed his love for reading and set him on the path toward writing his book. In fact, it was Ernest Hemingway's seminal short story, Snows of Kilimanjaro, that inspired him to climb the formidable mountain last year at the age of 37. When Stewart addressed the possible consequences of such an undertaking, especially for professional athletes, a group that generally doesn't risk injury outside its sport, Dickey defended his decision to attempt the feat while explaining that there's more to life than the game.
"There are things I like to do that transcend the game that I can use the platform of Major League Baseball to really facilitate," he said. "For so long, I wrapped my identity up in who I was as a baseball player, and I've gotten to the point in my life where I didn't want to do that."
Back in January, Dickey wrote about his experience climbing the mountain, in which he drew on everything from his family to the charity he was working with to Major League hitters for inspiration to get him through the grueling trek. On Tuesday, he joked with Stewart about a possible ulterior motive he had for making the climb.
"I thought there might be some potion up there I could drink and come back to be a Cy Young award winner, so I did it," he said.
WATCH PART 2 OF THE EXTENDED INTERVIEW: