The trip seems relatively fun and certainly inspirational. New York Mets knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey plans to scale Mount Kilimanjaro next month, simultaneously fulfilling a life goal and raising money for a charity that fights sex trafficking. But the Mets are not at all thrilled.
The team has sent a letter telling Dickey they will not hesitate to void his contract if the pitcher is injured during the 19,336-feet climb. Dickey is owed $4.75 million during the one year left on his two-year contract.
"If we thought it was a good idea, we wouldn't have sent the letter," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. "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."
Climbing Kilimanjaro is seen as relatively safe, at least compared to scaling other mountains like Mt. Everest, and was described in the Wall Street Journal as "essentially a long, steep hike, and the majority of people who attempt it do so without incident."
But there is room for error during the climb, and some people become ill on the trip. One of them, famous tennis player Martina Navratilova, who tried scaling the mountain for charity last December, needed to be taken off the mountain in a stretcher after climbing more than 15,000 feet. She later said she could have died on the mountain.
In two seasons with the Mets, Dickey has already climbed a long way. After learning how to throw a knuckleball to revive his career, Dickey is now an important part of New York's starting rotation. But this is his biggest knuckleball yet, and the Mets are worried for their reliable starter.