Friday, November 26, 2010

5 Reasons to Become a Knuckleball Pitcher

By Robert D Reese

The Knuckleball

Everyone that follows baseball knows this pitch as the erratic "dancing" pitch. It is thrown with the least amount of spin possible so that air can interact with the laces on the ball and push, pull and manipulate the flight of the ball to home plate. This is why major league hitters look absolutely foolish while trying to swing at a knuckler.

What not that many people know is that practically anyone can learn to throw a knuckleball, it just takes patience, dedication and a little bit of a wild side.

5 reasons why YOU should learn to throw a Knuckleball

1. Don't need a Power Arm
Probably the main reason knuckleballers strive to perfect the most difficult pitch to throw. A knuckleball pitcher doesn't try and throw 90+MPH, they rely on the inconsistency of the knuckleballs flight path. They want the pitch to be thrown from anywhere in the 70-80 MPH range. This lets the knuckleball "dance" in the air, so a batter will have to guess what the ball will do, causing plenty of awkward swings, and plenty of laughs.

2. Can have a Long Career
Knuckleballers can have a longer than average career in the Major Leagues. The reason is that they do not have to put as much strain on the ball throwing hard, so the arm does not wear down as easily. Most knuckleballers can pitch well into their 40′s and still be effective. Take Tim Wakefield for example. He is currently 44 years old and still pitching for the Boston Red Sox. He was also named to the American League All Star team in 2009. Not bad for someone over 40 years old.

3. Very Difficult to Hit
A knuckleball is called many things, the dancer, the butterfly, the floater and many more. The reason is because no one knows where the knuckleball will end up, not even the pitcher. Now think about it, you are trying to hit a pitch that is floating and dancing in front of you with a stick that is about 4 inches in width. Not an easy thing to do. That is why pitchers are able to use it as their feature pitch, but it is also a curse because they do not know where the ball will land.

4. Not Everyone Throws One
As a knuckleball pitcher, you are apart of a fraternity of knuckleball pitchers as not many people are able to throw and less are able to master it. Even being able to throw a knuckleball makes you special. Now many people can throw a ball 60-70mph with no spin. Tom Candiotti, one of the great knuckleball pitchers was taken under the great Phil Nekro's wings and taught how to master the pitch. After Candiotti retired, he counseled Tim Wakefield early in his career. R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets is the newest knuckleball pitcher in the majors, and Wakefield help him out so as you can see, you are in a small brotherhood of knuckleballers.

5. Anyone can throw a knuckleball!
The best part of dedicating yourself as a knuckleball pitcher is that ANYONE CAN THROW ONE. Just ask Eri Yoshida, the first female pitcher to play professional baseball.

Take a look at her video here:

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1 comment:

Student Travel Hostels said...

This is great! I started throwing it when I was 12 and the only thing I regret is I didn't throw it more! I plan to teach my kids how to throw it. So much easier on the arm.

Nice article!