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During the inaugural season of No Rhubarb! we faithfully followed the exploits of Our Favorite Rainier, outfielder Adam Jones. Jones is in Baltimore now, on his way to what we firmly believe will be a long and excellent career. The title of Our Favorite Rainier cannot stay vacant though, and we will take the next few days to find our new favorite. This year we will let you, the reader chime in on the subject. No Rhubarb! will present the case of several players and then let you vote who you think is Our Favorite Rainier. After which we will almost certainly ignore the results and just name whomever we want anyway.

Next Up: R.A. Dickey

Robert Alan Dickey is 33, a former first round pick of the Texas Rangers. Dickey was a sterling 38-10 in three seasons with the University of Tennessee. He made his major league debut in 2001, and spent time with the big club in parts of the 2003 - 2006 seasons. Dickey is the defending PCL Pitcher of the Year, going 13-6 with the Nashville Sounds, Triple-A club of the Milwaukee Brewers. Signed as a minor league free agent by the Minnesota Twins, he was then selected by the Mariners in the Rule 5 Draft. After not making the big league club out of spring training, Dickey was then offered back to the Twins. Minnesota then accepted the rights to minor league catcher Jair Fernandez instead.

Okay, that was more complicated than we first expected. What you kneed to know - other than he's pretty good - about R.A. Dickey: He throws the knuckleball. For those who might not know, the knuckleball is thrown with minimal spin which allows the air to push against the seams of the baseball. This will cause the ball to dip, rise, corkscrew and basically do whatever it damn well pleases. A well-thrown knuckler is difficult to hit, even more difficult to catch and damn near impossible to control. In other words, it is one of the more fun things in baseball.

Three Reasons Why R.A. Dickey is Our Favorite Rainier
1-Could be a bona fide Number One starter for the Rainiers
2-Initials are cool
3-KNUCKLEBALL! All you need to know about the knuckler comes from this quote by Hall-of-Famer Willie Stargell: "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." We don't understand it either, but who can argue with Pops?
Three Reasons Why R.A. Dickey is NOT Our Favorite Rainier
1-Might not be long for Tacoma. Dickey pitched well this spring, and should be the first guy called up to Seattle. Had Cha Seung Baek not been out of options, Dickey would be a Mariner already.
2-Not particularly thrilled with being a Rainier. No one wants to be sent to the minors, but Dickey makes a pretty good case.
3.KNUCKLEBALL! Yeah, the knuckler isn't always pretty. Jeff Clement - an other OFR candidate - could well kill himself trying to catch it.

Additional Bonus Reason: The knuckleball's origin are fairly murky, but some credit the creation of the pitch to 200-game winner Eddie Cicotte, best known for his involvement in throwing the 1919 World Series. Whether this is bad juju or special extra-good reverse juju, we leave entirely up to the reader.

Photos courtesy of and


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