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October 19, 2015

R.A. Dickey

Toronto, Ontario - Pregame three

Q. The Royals don't necessarily hit a ton of home runs, but they do score a lot. What makes them a tough team to face?
R.A. DICKEY: I think it's that they're balanced. They have a lot of guys -- I mean, they strike out the least amount in the League. They walk the least amount in the League. They're putting the ball in play a lot. They've got a lot of team speed, too.

So there's a lot -- and they pitch. They've got a great bullpen. They're just a well-rounded, balanced team. And you've got to really be on point to beat them.

I think we held the series lead during the season on them, but every game seemed to be just really close and a hard-fought game. They have a lot of tools at their disposal that they use very advantageously.

Q. You have a unique ability in being able to throw the knuckle ball. I wonder, do you have any thoughts about the future of the pitch. Even though you've been throwing it for a while, this is a big stage, whether throwing the knuckle ball on this stage might up its popularity, so to speak?
R.A. DICKEY: You know, that's a viable hypothesis, you know. I think that the more people that see it and are exposed to it, maybe more people become interested in it.

There's a guy in Boston named Steven Wright who is a pretty good knuckle ball guy. And he will be the guy that probably takes the baton from me when I leave, much like I took it from Tim when he left. But they're dwindling. The numbers are dwindling.

There's not a lot of guys left in the Minor Leagues that are pursuing it or working on it. I know there's a couple with the Baltimore Orioles organization. But you never know. It's kind of like that old pair of socks that you can't ever get rid of. There seems to always be one. So hopefully that trend will continue.

Q. I know you have enough to worry about here, but have you followed from afar what guys like Syndergaard, d'Arnaud, have done, guys that were in your trade, is there a part of you that would like to see this thing through and take on the Mets in the next round?
R.A. DICKEY: I think it would make for a great story, for sure. What a script that would be if I could face Syndergaard in Game 7. Wouldn't that be something?

But I don't really follow it, to be honest. I know that they're doing well as a team, and I'm sure those guys are a part of that. And the hope when you make a trade, like the trade that I was involved in, is that it's good for both teams, that's the hope. And it certainly has been good for their team and it seems to be all right for our team right now.

When I was a Met, I loved being a Met. I'm hoping that we play those guys in the World Series. It would certainly make for a great narrative.

Q. You're pitching in many stadiums in both leagues. This particular stadium, is there an advantage for you to pitch here? How do you compare this stadium for where you've pitched before?
R.A. DICKEY: I like this stadium. I feel like I have good results here. Anytime that you can take out an exponent of the equation, which is the climate in my particular case, because I don't have to worry about rain or moisture or wind when they have the dome closed.

If I can get the right release point, I can be really consistent in the strike zone. Everything for me works on being able to throw strikes with a pitch that's hard to throw strikes with. That's what makes me effective.

If I can do that routinely, and the climate helps with that, it's certainly an advantage for me.

I don't think that throwing inside the dome is the only place I could pitch well, that's for sure. But I think it's one less thing to worry about, certainly.

Q. (INAUDIBLE) you or Chris Young?
R.A. DICKEY: Chris is a pretty right guy. We had some great conversations when we were together in New York. I enjoyed being around him. I enjoyed talking to him. He's got a great mind. It's fun to be around guys like that who are well read and who you can have deeper conversations with. But I'm not sure who's more well read, but I'm interested in him. So it's fun to talk to him, for sure.

Q. Having been around Stroman for as long as you have, what makes him be able to pitch a big game like tonight?
R.A. DICKEY: I think his willingness. I think it starts there. I think like he really wants the ball for the biggest games of the year. He gets really excited about it. I think he's got a pretty good relationship with Buehrle. I think Buehrle has done a really good job of helping him temper that in a way that's effective and doesn't take him out of his ballgame. I think that's the only thing you have to worry about. Sometimes he can get too hyped up.

But he's very unique in that he's a younger kid with not a lot of experience, but a stage like this is not frightening to him. And that's a very unique attribute to possess, which he does. We as a team are thankful for that, because he's pitched really well this Postseason.

Q. What do you make of your former teammate, Daniel Murphy's October?
R.A. DICKEY: Oh, man, I've always been a big fan of Danny Murphy. He can hit, end of story. He wakes up talking about hitting. He is a student of the game. He's a student of his swing. He knows mechanically exactly where he needs to be to be consistent. He is just a very good baseball player. And there's not much more you can say about that.

There's no fancy descriptor that can make it any more relevant and make him any more relevant as a hitter. He is just a student of the game and loves to hit. And he hits all the time and loves to talk about it.

Q. What do you think of Stroman getting his degree during the rehab? Do you still ride a bike to the stadium?
R.A. DICKEY: In the Spring Training I do. I take my bike with me in spring and ride it down there.

And to answer your question about Stro, I think it's fantastic. You know, I constantly feel like I'm fighting against a stereotype a lot, that Major League Baseball players, athletes in general, can't be educated, can't be well read, can't have thoughtful conversations. The dumb jock syndrome is what I call it.

But Marcus having got his degree from Duke is a great example of a person that's an athlete, professionally, that this is his life, but it's not all his life. He has other desires outside of baseball.

And I think that's great for the game. It's great to exemplify that for kids coming up. I think it's a great thing to do to show kids in general that it's okay to have other interests outside the game. I think it can be really toxic, this game can be really toxic at times. And so being well rounded is always a benefit, I think.

Q. You mentioned the challenge of the Royals before. They are a free swinging team. Is that something you can take advantage of? How difficult is it to get through it mentally when they spoil a lot of good two-strike pitches, which is a knack for them?
R.A. DICKEY: I think that's a good insight. I think that's one of their key qualities as a team, is they do exactly that, they spoil a lot of pitcher counts. And they work the count back in their favor quite a bit.

I think that for me, and this is going to sound paradoxical, I think, but it's important for me to always be pitching to contact, with my knuckle ball. And that means I need to be relentless throwing strikes with it. I think it's important for me to take a shot or two out of the strike zone.

But the great thing and the beauty about a knuckle ball is that it can be in the strike zone and be just as effective as out of the strike zone, because it moves so chaotically, so late. If I'm inducing a lot of weak contact, it's great.

And that's something that when I pitched against them last time I really tried to attack the strike zone, and I was fortunate because they're a swinging team. And they were hitting pieces of the ball because it was moving well. And hopefully I can repeat that.

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