“Knuckleball”: The Movie About Baseball & Life (VIDEO)
After attending the Boston premiere of Knuckleball at the Regal Fenway Stadium I learned to appreciate the knuckleball and the pitchers who use the knuckleball a lot more. The movie followed around Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey during the 2011 baseball season. We see them in the clubhouse, with their families and learn their story. Throwing the knuckleball is not a choice sometimes with the pitcher and more of a last choice with their team at the time. This film taught me a lot about knuckleball pitchers and the game of baseball as a whole.
The theater was a packed house full of fans and media who got to see the special screening before it hits theaters Friday. Guests included fellow retired knuckleballers Tim Wakefield, Charlie Hough, Phil Niekro, and Willbur Wood. R.A. Dickey is the only current knuckleball pitcher in the majors but his knuckleball is much faster than the four guests. Being in the same room as hall of famer like Phil Niekro was a great honor. The day to day activities of a knuckleballer are much different than they of a “regular” pitcher. Scouting reports are not used. They just step and throw it and hope it does not end up in the seats.
In the documentary we learn about the knuckleballers lives and how tough it was for them to get to the majors and stay in the majors. As explained in the film, knuckleballers are rare and seen as “aliens” as R.A. Dickey said about himself. His Met’s teammates like to fool around and throw the pitch during batting practice for fun, while Dickey has made a career out of it. All of these pitchers seemingly formed a fraternity and help each other out. Wakefield, after being cut by the Pirates, worked with Phil Niekro and Dickey works with Charlie Hough still today. Being a part of the knuckleball club seems like a fun thing and they really seem to enjoy it.
Knuckleballers are projected to be extinct in the near future as the game now has become more about statistics and how fast you can throw. Much like any pitcher mixing speeds is the most important so I don’t see why another knuckleballer can’t come up to the majors. Most of these pitchers learn the knuckleball playing catch with their dad at a young age and think nothing of it. Pitchers have made careers out of this deceptive pitch, and I could see more doing so.
I recommend seeing this great baseball documentary. You will learn more about the game of baseball and the lives of some players you may not get to see. I did not want to give too much away with this article so check out the trailer and you decide!
Special thanks to Joe Favorito.