- Last Updated: 7:39 PM, July 10, 2012
- Posted: 3:23 AM, July 10, 2012
KANSAS CITY — Plain and simple, the Mets got hosed.
Manager-for-a-day Tony La Russa chose to be a knucklehead by choosing Giants ace Matt Cain over the Mets’ R.A. Dickey to start tonight for the National League in the 2012 All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium. The former Cardinals manager never discussed the situation with Dickey before making the decision.
Dickey is tied for the league lead in wins in his storybook season, but La Russa made it an all-Giants battery with Cain throwing to Buster Posey, saying he wanted to “reward Matt Cain for a career of excellence.’’
La Russa said Dickey will enter the game when catcher Carlos Ruiz replaces Posey.
The knuckleballer expressed extreme disappointment in the choice, not only for himself but for the Mets, who deserved to have a starter.
David Wright, who was overtaken in the fan vote by Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, was not picked to DH by La Russa, who went with lefty-hitting Carlos Gonzalez against right-handed AL starter Justin Verlander.
Not having a Met starting, Dickey said, “was one of my bigger disappointments because I really felt like it would have been a neat thing for the New York Mets organization and the fan base. Having shared so much of the story with them, I felt like that would have been a neat culmination to the story.’’
The Mets could be battling the Giants for the wild card down the stretch, so all this adds a little spice. Terry Collins said he knows there are bigger fish to fry for his Mets.
“When you are in our shoes, we’ve had a very good first half and we have two guys here to represent that,’’ Collins said last night. “I think that’s a compliment to the organization. Walking through the locker room, I’ve had five players say, ‘David should be starting.’ He’s not. It’s the system. I’m sure they are telling him that.
“There are players telling R.A., ‘You know what? You deserve to be out there [starting].’ But everyone understands the circumstances behind it all,’’ Collins added. “I’m going to tell R.A., ‘You are allowed to feel bad, that’s human nature, you want to be on that big stage. You know what? The big stage is Oct. 24, pitching Game 1 [of the World Series].’ If that is a stepping stone to that, then I’m happy he’s not starting this game. I want that to be his goal.’’
Dickey said, “I’m not going to break down in tears over it, but at the same time I’m a competitor. I want to pitch. I want to start. But I’m not the boss. I don’t have to agree with it, but I have to respect it. I haven’t talked to Tony. I kind of expected to get a call from him either way. Wherever I pitch will be an honor.’’
In regards to not having an experienced knuckleball catcher on the roster, Dickey said, “I think that’s part of what’s been overthought.’’
AL leadoff hitter Derek Jeter said he was happy he did not have to face Dickey in the first inning.
“I looked kind of foolish when I faced him at Citi Field,’’ Jeter told The Post. “I’m happy he’s not starting.’’
Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, who like Dickey has traveled a difficult, winding road to All-Star status, told The Post he was looking forward to seeing Dickey start.
“Knowing what kind of man he is, first of all, and knowing the things he’s been through and for him to be in that spot, would have been a special moment,’’ Hamilton said. “But he’s here. And he’s going to be in there at some point and somebody is going to have a tough time [facing him].’’
The All-Star Game comes to Citi Field next July.
“If R.A. is pitching like this next year,’’ Collins said, “there is no doubt in my mind he will be out on that mound starting.”