With baseball’s postseason looming right around the corner it seemed only appropriate to take a look at the recently released documentary, Knuckleball. Knuckleball is a look at past and present pitchers who throw the rare and unique pitch in the game. It’s a rare and highly debated pitch that can make the best hitters in the game look like a novice. The film focuses mainly on the two most recent pitchers who throw the pitch. One is the recently retired Boston Red sox, Tim Wakefield. The other is current New York Mets pitcher, R.A. Dickey.
The film chronicles their history in the game and how it is they became knuckleball pitchers. The stories of Wakefield and Dickey are very different paths but at the same time take on a similarity. Both men’s passion for the game of baseball never has, nor can ever be called into question. When there paths to the major leagues quickly gets derailed, it is through their unique ability to throw the difficult and rarely used pitch that they are given new life. With help from famous knuckleballer’s Charlie Hough and hall of famer Phil Neikro, who may be the most well known and successful of anyone to throw the pitch.
Knuckleball expertly takes you down the humbling path of these two men, showing the end of one storied career and the new life one finds late in his career that is so richly deserved. Having shown how close both men were to having their major league dreams shattered, you can’t help but be moved by their drive and humility it took to completely start over from the ground up. It turned them both into two of the most respected and humble men in a world where flash and over confidence is served for breakfast.
While the film follows Wakefield as his career comes to a close as a Red Sox legend in an organization filled with legend and lore. With the difficult decision to retire Wakefield in a sense passes the torch of the knuckleball to 37 year old R.A. Dickey as baseball’s lone knuckleball pitcher. They then show Dickey finally receive success that has seemed to be so elusive his whole career.
With several scenes where all four pitchers get together to discuss their lives and careers, you can’t help but feel enthralled in the stories and fascinating paths they all took to reach the majors and stay there with a great deal of success.
Knuckleball is more than a story about pitch that has been called everything from a gimmick to a trick pitch and even unhitable. It is the story of humility and drive to do whatever is necessary to realize the dreams that drive one their whole life and refusal to have to give them up. While it is a movie geared towards baseball fans, it can no doubt be appreciated by all. With relatable stories and people you can’t help but root for, Knuckleball will have you feeling somewhat inspired to maybe try just a little harder next time life seems to daunting to achieve what you have worked for.