Turning Old Quarterbacks into Knuckleball Pitchers – This is Actually Happening

next knucklerStarting 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?

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

22 responses to “Turning Old Quarterbacks into Knuckleball Pitchers – This is Actually Happening”

  1. Spencer

    Who are the participants?

  2. hansman1982

    I think this fits here:

    Spencer What’s bad about it? – Feb 12, 12:08 PM
    .

  3. DarthHater

    I can help but watch.

  4. Curt

    No not really, to many choices on tv to watch , he’ll why not get Ryan leaf, akili smith,he’ll bring Marino, Montana and the rest if them out given s shot lol , ill probably watch once see what it looks like.

  5. Beer Baron

    Josh and John David Booty – - there’s got to be a cheesy promo they can run to promote the show highlighting all the Booty you’ll see. Actually one of them used to play for the Marlins, right?

  6. macpete22

    Definitely gonna try and catch it

  7. mudge

    It’s a devastating new pitch, the way Dickey throws it, a breakthrough like Sparky Lyle’s slider, and it’s only common sense to start grooming young pitchers. Why wouldn’t the Cubs do it?

    1. Marc N

      I never got why more pitchers didn’t try to throw the knuckleball hard like that. I think most people who have ever pitched will mess around with the pitch in some way in the bullpen or on the sidelines.

      I’m definitely going to watch this show.

  8. BrettFL

    Yeah I am. My dad actually umpired the event in Vero Beach and said it was great experience.

  9. Stinky Pete

    No MLB Network. Sadface. D-:

  10. beerhelps

    So is this comparable to the Adam Greenberg 1 at bat? just throwing it out there for discussion.

    1. Andrew

      I’d say it’s a little less comparable since the Adam Greenberg at bat was regular season. This is like Garth Brooks participating in Spring Training with the Padres.

  11. justinjabs

    Interesting concept. Another reason I wish I had access to MLBN.

  12. Riles24

    Maybe Cade McNown could get it on this

  13. Drew

    If Doug Flutie can be involved, how ’bout another 80′s Phenom, Todd Marinovich!