Starting tomorrow night at 8pm CT on MLB Network, a new show will be documenting (well, it’s one of those reality competition shows, anyway) the attempt to turn a group of former quarterbacks into knuckleball pitchers. The winner will get a shot to pitch in an actual Spring Training game for the Diamondbacks. It is an insane stunt. It is ridiculous. It is stupid.
And I love it.
With R.A. Dickey’s reinvention over the last few years, there’s been a groundswell of opinion that any number of aging, declining pitchers could just “start throwing a knuckleball” to save their careers. And, if it’s that easy, then turning a former high level quarterback – Doug Flutie, Josh Booty, or David Greene, for example – into a successful knuckleball pitcher should be a slam dunk, right?
Of course it isn’t. Throwing a successful, consistent, repeatable knuckleball is incredibly difficult. Otherwise, truly, lots of people would be doing it.
But I can’t wait to see what happens when you tutor quality athletes who can otherwise throw stuff in the art of the knuckleball. Can they throw it marginally well? Will the winner get blasted out of the stadium in Spring Training?
I really hope this show doesn’t suck. To me, it’s the right kind of gimmicky thing that MLB could stand to do a little more of as it moves to compete for the attention of a diversifying sporting population. Kudos to the Diamondbacks for being willing to entertain this thing – can you imagine the Cubs doing it? No freaking way.
(Then again, they are holding a Bunt Tournament, featuring front office members in the competition, so … )
The show, cheesily called “The Next Knuckler” premiers tomorrow night at 8pm CT on MLBN. The other competitors, in addition to the three listed above, are John David Booty and Ryan Perrilloux.
Anyone else looking forward to the spectacle?
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