Current Padres closer Heath Bell has taken the 7 train to Citi Field. Cubs skippper Mike Quade opted for the Red Line on first regular season journey to Wrigley Field. Perhaps seeking recognition as some sort of public transport pioneer, Mets starter R.A. Dickey recounts a July 3, 2010 ride on the Washington Metro, en route to a mound duel with Nats phenom Stephen Strasburg, as told to the New York Times’ David Waldstein :
Dickey, the foil to Strasburg in the rookie sensation’s fourth career home game, sat quietly, pretending to read Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi” while he soaked in every word, including his own name, flittering around him. He wore jeans, a collared shirt and carried a backpack on that northbound train headed for the Navy Yard stop. Amid those red-clad fans, he looked more as if he was headed to work at the Smithsonian than to start for the Mets in front of a crowd of 39,214, who would pay to watch on a sunny day custom-made for baseball.
“It was kind of like an out-of-body experience,” Dickey recalled. “It was as if I was a fugitive going incognito.”
Dickey was surrounded by fans, sitting behind him, in front of him, across from him, even standing in the aisle hovering over him. They dissected the coming game and particularly the matchup, which a day earlier Dickey had described as a duel between an F-18 fighter jet against a butterfly. Dickey then listened to the fans analyze it.
“It was really a cool window into the fans,” he said. “I was so glad I was able to dis-attach from being me and was able to see what it’s like for people when they come to a baseball game. It was very surreal. I just sat there pretending to read and thinking, ‘This is kind of unbelievable.’
Of his occasional commutes to Flushing via Metro North and the 7, Dickey notes he’s encountered an appreciative, if not literate Mets fan base.
““One guy had heard I was reading ‘My Name Is Asher Lev’ by Chaim Potok,” Dickey said. “As he walked by, he recommended I read ‘The Chosen,’ too.”