by A.J. Coltrane
This looks like a fun watch:
On Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET “The Next Knuckler” will premier on MLB Network. The MLB Productions reality series will show just how difficult it is for even the best athletes to learn the knuckleball. Wakefield will teach the pitch to a group of former NCAA quarterbacks who will compete for an invitation to spring training with the Arizona Diamondbacks It’s an eclectic group: Doug Flutie (Boston College), John David Booty (USC), former major league infielder Josh Booty (LSU), David Greene (Georgia) and Ryan Perrilloux (LSU and Jacksonville State).
I’ll be recording that for sure.
I’m a little surprised that teams don’t run mass tryouts for knuckleball pitchers. What’s the worst thing that happens? A pitching coach and a couple of interns are out an afternoon? It seems like a really low-risk high-reward proposition. Heck, I’d go try out, and my arm makes weird noises when I try to throw overhand at this point!
Maybe that’s why teams don’t do it…hmmm.
2 thoughts on “The Next Knuckler”
I can’t believe that you would actually watch this schlock. If throwing a knuckleball successfully was so easy, I am pretty sure that most pitchers would have developed one to extend their careers. There is a reason why the list of successful knuckleball pitchers is a short one – unless you have stellar command of the pitch, a knuckle ball pitcher might as well be throwing batting practice to a major league hitter.
I would guess that MLB pitchers spend most of their time refining/repeating the stuff that already works for them — there’s no sense bringing a pitch from a “D-” to a “D”, but working on their curveball to keep it at a “B” level, or potentially improving it would be a better use of time.
To put it another way, I think there’s immense amount of pressure associated with just making sure that what’s working continues to work, and there are enough moving parts involved that require constant care and feeding that screwing around with a “non-revenue producing” pitch is not considered worthwhile.
I’d also guess that trying to get a working knuckler while you have other perfectly usable pitches tends to get you labeled as a “kook”, or a “headcase”, which could be bad for your future employment opportunities.
Is the idea of the show schlocky? Maybe. But I bet it’s a fun watch, and I won’t be at all surprised if I learn a thing or two about throwing the knuckler while watching these guys attempt it.