ShareThis Page
Kevin Gorman

Kevin Gorman: Corey Dickerson brings new perspective to Pirates

Kevin Gorman
| Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, 7:21 p.m.
Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson takes batting practice with his new team Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson takes batting practice with his new team Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla.
Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson walks from the clubhouse to the field for a his first workout with the team Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson walks from the clubhouse to the field for a his first workout with the team Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla.

BRADENTON, Fla.

Corey Dickerson was at the hospital Thursday, awaiting the arrival of his second child, when he got a special delivery: a phone call informing the outfielder he had been traded.

The Tampa Bay Rays turned Dickerson's world upside down five days earlier by designating him for assignment.

That was embarrassing to the 2017 All-Star starter, who had to explain to family members that the move was meant to accelerate trade talks after the Rays went with cheaper option C.J. Cron.

Tampa Bay trading for Cron was cause for confusion, as Dickerson first thought he had been dealt to the Los Angeles Angels. He wondered where he would fit into an outfield featuring All-Stars Mike Trout and Justin Upton and Gold Glove winner Kole Calhoun.

So imagine Dickerson's surprise when he learned he had been shipped from the penny-pinching Rays to the free-spending Pirates.

By Dickerson's reaction, it was clear the last place he expected to end up was in Pittsburgh.

"The whole thing was a surprise," Dickerson said. "Whenever it finally happened, I was just excited. I'm the kind of person (who asks), What's next?' I turn the page really quickly. All I'm worried about is competing. I'm a very competitive person. I always try to turn the page quickly."

The pages of the book on Dickerson are now loaded with a fresh perspective on what is worth worrying about and what isn't.

He was so worried about where he would play until his wife, Beth Anne, gave birth to their second son, Miller, at 5:58 p.m., just hours after Dickerson was dealt.

"This game means so much to me and my family," Dickerson said. "For it to be kind of feel like it was taken away in a sense that you feel like you don't have a home and then you're welcoming your second son, it's kind of hard to concentrate on what's really important.

"At the end of the day, what really was important was having our second son. He came out healthy. Everything worked out for the best. We're very lucky and feel blessed for that."

That fresh perspective should serve Dickerson well with the Pirates, who proclaimed him their starter in left field before he ever put on a black-and-gold uniform Monday.

Dickerson has no shortage of motivation, calling Tampa's decision to DFA him "disrespectful" and "hard to stomach," especially after a career-best 27-home run campaign.

"To be done in that way, it hurt," Dickerson said. "But I'm ready to turn the page. I know what I can do. I'm not going to try to be anybody else. I'm just going to try to play my game and help this organization win."

That's good that Dickerson doesn't want to be anybody else, considering the Pirates sure don't want him to try to be Andrew McCutchen.

They need Dickerson to post similar statistics, taking advantage of the short, right-field fence at PNC Park with his big, left-handed bat.

It's no accident that the Pirates placed his locker next to third baseman Colin Moran, another starter acquired via trade who stretched with Dickerson.

"He's got a much longer resume than I do," Moran said. "He's obviously a hell of a player, so I'm excited to have him on the team. I'm really excited to pick his brain. He was an All-Star last year and a very accomplished player, so I'm looking forward to seeing how he works and picking up a few things that can help me."

Despite his soft-spoken demeanor, Dickerson comes across as his confident. He knows the knock on him — with his Mississippi twang, it sounds like he's saying "knack" — is his defense.

Dickerson intends to prove he can play in PNC Park's cavernous left field like he did at Coors Field in Colorado and at Tropicana Field in Tampa — even if he was selected to start in the All-Star Game as designated hitter.

That was a nod to his strong start, as Dickerson batted an AL-best .330 through June 26 on his way to career bests in homers, runs (84), extra-base hits (64), total bases (288) and multi-hit games (51).

Playing in the Midsummer Classic, Dickerson realized a "childhood dream" and proved to himself he belonged with the game's best players.

"It's something you never can get taken away from you," Dickerson said. "You can struggle for years, but you're an All-Star. That's beside your name forever. You can tell your kids that."

Now, Dickerson can tell his kids about that and more, especially the story about the whirlwind week that led to the trade on the day his second son was born, the day Dickerson's perspective was born anew.

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib. .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me