Tuesday, December 25, 2012

RA Dickey Proves That Great Athletes Can Also Be Great Humans...Or How To Leave An Organization With Class Redux

RA Dickey is both an athlete and a class act
Back in September I wrote about the classless way Robin van Persie handled himself with regards to his future. The post was entitled How To Leave An Organization With Class: Something RVP Didn't Do, and Should Have Done. He not only refused to sign a new contract with the club and manager that had developed him in to a star player, he abandoned Arsenal and helped force through a move to one of the most hated rivals Man United. His "farewell" to supporters was this passive aggressive "message to the fans"  that he posted on his website.
"This is an update for the fans about my current situation. I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.
"As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the Boss and Mr. Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.
"I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days.
"Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.
 "I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract. You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions.
RVP's new BFF
"I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC. Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch.
"I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last 8 years. As soon as Mr. Gazidis is back from his 2-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments."
That was that. He never addressed Arsenal fans again. He kicked and screamed like a "little boy" and eventually got what he wanted with no regard for those that had supported him for seven years.

In my original post I showed examples of athletes that took out newspaper ads to thank the fans and towns that had supported them when moving on to another club or retiring. These were classy gestures by athletes that took the time to express their appreciation for the folks that helped pay their salaries.

Dickey salutes the fans
Then this past week, RA Dickey went above and beyond those examples. Dickey had resurrected his once floundering pitching career with the woeful Mets and had truly developed a bond with the city and the fans. While no fan wanted Dickey to be traded, in terms of baseball business, it was a move that the Mets had to make. Dickey was traded to the Toronto Bluejays for two top prospects in a deal that is beneficial to both. The Bluejays are ready to win now (and hopefully end the Yankees' reign) while the Mets are building for the future.

In direct contrast to RVP's selfish demands to leave Arsenal, Dickey was traded despite not wanting to leave. Yes, he wanted to stay loyal to the team that had taken a chance on him despite the fact that the Mets are not very good right now. He wasn't demanding a trade to the Yankees or Giants in order for instant glory. He wanted to stay.

Instead of being bitter and angry at Mets management and sulking out of town Dickey wrote the classiest note to New York and Mets fans thanking them, the Mets organization and even the grounds crew at Citi Field. Here are some excerpts from the article that he himself penned and was published in the New York Daily News on Saturday, December 22nd:
I never expected to be writing a farewell “holiday card” to Mets fans. I never expected to be doing anything but celebrating the joy of the season with my wife and kids and looking toward the spring, and the start of my fourth season with an organization that gave me maybe the greatest gift an athlete can get:
A chance.
I am not going to lie to you, though. The trade was hard for me at first. This is where my heart was, where I wanted to be, where I lived out a story of redemption and felt that every one of you shared it with me in some form or fashion. I loved pitching for you. I loved your passion, the way you embraced me from the start, and the way you seemed to appreciate the effort I was putting forth. Every time I’d walk off the mound after an outing, I’d look in your faces, the people behind the dugout, and felt as if all your energy and support was pouring right into me — even when I was lousy. It gives me chill bumps thinking about it even now.
Every organization has to do what it feels is in its best interest, and I have no doubt that that’s what the Mets did by trading Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas and me for two young players who, by all accounts, are terrific prospects. It doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier.
There were so many special relationships I formed that made my time with the Mets so much richer. Not just in the clubhouse, either. I enjoyed talking with Bill Deacon, the head groundskeeper, about his craft, and all that went into it. The security people who helped my wife and kids get in and out of the family lounge, the policemen who helped me get out of the parking lot, the folks at the Hodges Gate — so many people went out of their way to be kind to me, and they should know how much it was, and is, appreciated.
I hope you know that I will never forget my three years in New York, and never be able to adequately thank you for everything you’ve given me.

Now that's what you call a class act. We Mets fans were lucky to have him in our organization. He is one of the few athletes that actually understands the bond that fans have with their teams and feels loyalty towards those that gave him a chance when others wouldn't. RVP and other spoiled, privileged and over paid athletes could learn a thing or two from RA Dickey.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Arsene Wenger Deserves Nothing But Respect

This is a short one and I'll get right to the point. It's obvious that Arsenal have not been performing at the level fans had become accustomed to throughout the Arsene Wenger era. The arguing and name calling between Gooners that want Wenger out and those that still have faith in the manager is becoming a regular feature of my Twitter feed.

I personally think that Wenger is a genius and that the club and us fans are lucky to have a manager like him. Over 16 years, he has often performed miracles, uncovered hidden gems and been nothing but gracious while being vilified by the media and fans. Yes I want my club to win everything every year, but let's deal in reality folks...there's no guarantee of this and sometimes you don't get what you want. Do these fans that want Wenger out want Arsenal to bring in one of the reusable & disposable names that jump from club to club such as Redknapp, Fat Sam, Mark Hughes, Ian Holloway, etc? (a.k.a the Fergie ass kissers).
Who's my next manager?
I stumbled across a column in the Mirror today written by Oliver Holt and he does a great job in laying out why Wenger deserves respect and not condemnation. The man must have a thick skin as he deflects blame that could (and often should) be directed elsewhere. The man loves Arsenal and wants exactly what the fans want.

Check out the article:

The secret life of Arsene Wenger: How Gunners boss takes it for the team

Then think really hard about Arsene Wenger and all he has done for Arsenal. The man deserves nothing but respect. If a drop in play is automatic cause for #WengerOut then perhaps fans should start following Roman Abromovich's Chelsea and they can have a new manager every 8 months!!!

Be careful what you wish for