R.A. Dickey was a victim of sexual abuse, contemplated suicide

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R.A. Dickey has a memoir coming out. Given his depths, it’s not surprising that it’s not your typical jock-talk. But as revealed in Andy Martino’s story about it in the Daily News, it’s a lot heavier than that:

In a raw new memoir, Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey reveals that he was sexually abused as an eight-year-old, and later lived with so much anger and shame that he contemplated suicide just a few years before signing with the Mets … Dickey writes about closing down Nashville barrooms with his mother at age five, sleeping in abandoned houses as a teenager, swimming with alligators and turning to sports in an effort to mitigate the pain brought on by the sexual abuse.

There are excerpts of it available over at Sports Illustrated.

The book talks about the abuse and messed up childhood leading to fears of intimacy, and that in turn leading him to have an affair after he was married, which in turn made him contemplate suicide.  He bounced back via therapy, extreme remorse, the support of his wife and the strength of his religious beliefs Which … whoa to all of it.

Knuckleballers, man. There’s a hell of a lot more going on with them than there is with most folks.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.