R.A. Dickey is planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in January for charity. The New York Mets have sent a letter to the pitcher’s agent warning him that the team can void the final year of his contract if Dickey is hurt on the climb, a Mets spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
The Mets sent the letter earlier this year to Dickey’s agent, Bo McKinnis, who did not return a call for comment.
Dickey, 37, is due to make $4.25 million in 2012 and has a $5 million team option (against a $300,000 buyout) for 2013.
He has reached a career peak since joining the Mets for 2010, refining a knuckleball and becoming an important starting pitcher after years as a journeyman spot starter/long reliever. He is 19-22 with a 3.08 ERA as a Met.
A Mets spokesman confirmed that general manager Sandy Alderson told The Wall Street Journal in a recent interview concerning Dickey: “If we thought it was a good idea, we wouldn’t have sent the letter. Beyond that, have we tried to dissuade him from going? It seems to me that the letter is enough of an effort to dissuade him, and he intends to go on nonetheless.”
Dickey organized the climb largely to raise awareness for Bombay Teen Challenge, a charity that aids victims of sex trafficking in India.
Although the exact language in Dickey’s contract isn’t known, the standard player contract includes this wording: “The Player and the Club recognize and agree that the Player’s participation in certain other sports may impair or destroy his ability and skill as a baseball player. Accordingly, the Player agrees that he will not engage in” a list of sports and activities totaling more than 50, including “mountain climbing.”
Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, is the highest mountain in Africa, at 19,336 feet above sea level.
DODGERS: A U.S. District Judge in Delaware says a bankruptcy judge erred in freeing the Los Angeles Dodgers from provisions of its current Fox Sports TV contract.
U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark released a 33-page ruling Tuesday explaining his reasoning after he issued an order last Friday to halt the Dodgers’ plans to sell the media rights to future games as part of the team’s impending sale.
Fox currently has the rights to produce, record and telecast Dodgers games through the 2013 season. The contract gives Fox certain rights in negotiating an extension. But a judge handling the team’s bankruptcy proceedings ruled the “no-shop” provisions were unenforceable in bankruptcy.
Fox has appealed that decision, which hurts its chances of holding on to the broadcasting rights. Lawyers are set to argue the appeal before Stark in January.
Stark said lawyers for Fox have demonstrated a substantial likelihood they will succeed in January’s hearing. That’s because the bankruptcy judge who freed the Dodgers from the current contract arrangement with Fox improperly relied on a single case in making his decision, Stark said.
The Dodgers sought bankruptcy protection in June after baseball Commissioner Bud Selig rejected a new TV deal with Fox that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt was counting on to keep the franchise solvent.