One of the thousand reasons to love R.A. Dickey's emergence as a Mets mainstay this season: his off-field hobbies. More specific: Dickey, taking a cue from Kramer before him, has decided he want to be a ballboy at next year's U.S. Open. (He couldn't apply last year for this year's because he was in Rochester at the time, and no one would have let him.) The problem is that the USTA requires clean-shaven ballboys, and Dickey's beard is almost as famous as his knuckleball. The Times asked Dickey whether he'd be willing to shave, and he responded, awesomely, "I would prefer that they embrace me with beard. Especially for $7.75 an hour." He's the best. Also: Dickey's a free agent after this year, so the fact that he plans on being back here this time next year is a good thing. Plus, he'd look funny hopping across the net in between starts.
Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images