NEW YORK (AP) -- R.A. Dickey became the first knuckleballer to win 20 games in more than three decades, tying his career-high with 13 strikeouts and leading the New York Mets over Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 Thursday behind David Wright 's tiebreaking, three-run homer.
A 37-year-old knuckleballer who had never won more than 11 games in any previous season, Dickey (20-6) overcame an outstanding, climbing catch by Travis Snider more than 2 feet above the right-field wall that robbed Mike Baxter of a tying home run in the second inning.
Dickey, throwing his hard knuckler at about 78 mph, fell behind 2-0 and 3-1. Former Texas teammate Rod Barajas doubled in a run and homered, but the Mets clawed back in their final home game of the season and took a 6-3 lead on Wright's homer in the fifth and held on in a nervous ninth. More »
Back in 2005, R.A. Dickey's pitching career was drifting along unremarkably. The righthander, who had been drafted by the Texas Rangers nine years earlier, had bounced around the minors, making occasional stops at the big league level and throwing a 93-mile-per-hour fastball but producing nothing special. "We thought this guy may be out of baseball pretty quick if we didn't suggest something," says former major league great and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analyst Orel Hershiser, Dickey's pitching coach at the time.
So Hershiser and then Rangers manager Buck Showalter had an unusual idea to help Dickey save his career. On off days and occasionally in games Dickey experimented with an odd and unpredictable pitch — the knuckleball. They told him that the best way to avoid a potentially permanent demotion to the minors was to become a full-time knuckleballer.
The substitute teachers have been relieved of duty and the real ones are back on the job. By that, we really mean the NFL and the referees have struck a deal to bring back the authentic zebras starting tonight when the Baltimore Ravens take on the Cleveland Browns.
There were a lot of questions surrounding the release of Apple's new iPhone 5. Would it be thinner and lighter? Would it have a larger screen? Would it allow humans to speak directly to dolphins? (O.K., maybe I'm the only one that was wondering about that last question.) But New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert had an even more important question that he wanted answered: How would the iPhone 5 work as a basketball? To find out the answer he decided to take a brand new iPhone to a basketball court and discovered that—wait for it—the iPhone makes for a really horrible basketball. Let us all say it together now: "DUH!"
What do you think of Iman Shumpert dunking an iPhone? More »
SEATTLE (AP) -- Golden Tate shoved a Green Bay defender out of the way, wrestled another for the ball and was awarded a disputed touchdown on the final play. But it was another 10 minutes before the game actually ended, when the Seattle Seahawks and the stunned Packers were called back on the field for the extra point.
Replacement ref rage may have peaked Monday night.
Just when it seemed that NFL coaches, players and fans couldn't get any angrier, along came a fiasco that trumped any of the complaints from the weekend. The Seahawks' 14-12 victory featured one of the most bizarre finishes in recent memory, and was certain to reignite frustrations over the locked-out officials.
The trailer for 42, the upcoming movie about Jackie Robinson's life, was released recently. The movie will come out in April 2013 just in time for the start of the 2013 baseball season. Chadwick Boseman plays Robinson, who broke major league baseball's color barrier when he made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Harrison Ford, who appeared as Han Solo in the Star Wars movies, stars as Branch Rickey, the Dodgers' general manager who signed Robinson. Robinson's story is one of the greatest in sports, so let's hope the movie does it justice.
What do you think of the trailer for 42? More »
After beating Coco Vandeweghe in a last-game tiebreaker, Venus Williams led her team, the Washington Kastles, to their second straight undefeated World Team Tennis championship. More »