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(YouTube)   New documentary traces the long and erratic history of the knuckleball   (youtube.com) divider line 29
    More: Spiffy, knuckleball pitch, Tim Wakefield, hook shots, R.A. Dickey, Dickey, Moneyball, Red Sox, documentary  
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789 clicks; posted to Sports » on 23 Aug 2012 at 10:33 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-23 10:35:20 AM
a knuckle is not something you want to take to your ball
 
2012-08-23 10:38:42 AM
Great. In 15 years we'll have a whole new crop of knuckleballers and catchers' gloves will be the size of tractor tires.
 
2012-08-23 10:47:54 AM
*fap*

Oh wait, you said "erratic".

/fap
 
2012-08-23 10:48:12 AM
And if the Mets actually gave Dickey decent run support in the last month he'd have 17 wins instead of 15
 
2012-08-23 10:51:16 AM
Eddie Cicotte shows his approval by plunking Morrie Rath
 
2012-08-23 11:15:55 AM
Looks good. Hopefully it goes into some of the history of the pitch and its mechanics in addition to the profiles of Wakefield and Dickey.
 
2012-08-23 11:29:43 AM
I'm not normally that interested in baseball, but I'm definitely going to see this. That looked quite interesting.
 
2012-08-23 11:33:20 AM
I always thought a knuckleballer would be an interesting closer, especially after someone has been pitching 95+mph fastballs. too hard an adjustment to make after seeing that for 8 innings.
 
2012-08-23 11:43:02 AM

You Are All Sheep: I always thought a knuckleballer would be an interesting closer, especially after someone has been pitching 95+mph fastballs. too hard an adjustment to make after seeing that for 8 innings.


And they could pitch pretty much every night. The only problem is usually they have a pretty high walk rate and HR rate (these are anecdotal stats....aka made up but I bet they are right) so I think they might not be any more effective in the long run than any other closer.

But that is an overrated and improperly used position anyway.
 
2012-08-23 11:48:54 AM

You Are All Sheep: I always thought a knuckleballer would be an interesting closer, especially after someone has been pitching 95+mph fastballs. too hard an adjustment to make after seeing that for 8 innings.


Wakefield was good as a starter, but was invaluable as a utility guy. Whenever there was an injured starter, he could fill that gap, and he also had no problem being a long-relief guy on short rest, if needed. One thing I like about knucleballers is that since they usually learn the knuckler as a way to prolong their career after not starting out great, so they have no problem being humble and doing whatever is best for the team.
 
2012-08-23 11:50:50 AM

ghall3: You Are All Sheep: I always thought a knuckleballer would be an interesting closer, especially after someone has been pitching 95+mph fastballs. too hard an adjustment to make after seeing that for 8 innings.

And they could pitch pretty much every night. The only problem is usually they have a pretty high walk rate and HR rate (these are anecdotal stats....aka made up but I bet they are right) so I think they might not be any more effective in the long run than any other closer.

But that is an overrated and improperly used position anyway.


Yep. If I had a shutout relief guy in my bullpen, I'd use him in the seventh or eighth when the game is on the line. Bringing him in with a two- or three-run lead in the ninth with nobody on base is just stat-padding for saves.
 
2012-08-23 11:55:41 AM

NeoCortex42: Yep. If I had a shutout relief guy in my bullpen, I'd use him in the seventh or eighth when the game is on the line. Bringing him in with a two- or three-run lead in the ninth with nobody on base is just stat-padding for saves.


Exactly. They should create (or promote better) a stat to take those situations into account. Also, I miss the guys who regularly saved games pitching more than one inning. Why is the highest paid relief pitcher only able to pitch 1 inning a game and 70 innings a year. Wouldn't you want the best pitcher in the bullpen to pitch more than that?

Baseball managers are stupid. Well...too afraid to get fired because the old-school media types would rail against them if it didn't work out.
 
2012-08-23 11:57:46 AM
One of the more interesting aspects of Jim Bouton's book "Ball Four" were the tales of his struggles with the knuckleball. It was the pitch that made his living, yet even he didn't seem to have a solid understanding of the mechanics of throwing it. It was either working or it wasn't, the stressing about it was constant.
 
2012-08-23 12:30:15 PM
I always like Bob Uecker's advice on the best way to catch a knuckle ball, "wait until it stops rolling on the ground and pick it up."
 
2012-08-23 12:48:49 PM

You Are All Sheep: I always thought a knuckleballer would be an interesting closer, especially after someone has been pitching 95+mph fastballs. too hard an adjustment to make after seeing that for 8 innings.


Ask Tim Wakefield what happened when the Red Sox attempted this in 2003. Freakin' Aaron Boone.
 
2012-08-23 01:13:42 PM
in the mid 2000's the "Knuckle Curve" was a popular pitch. I never understood that. The knuck knucks because it doesn't spin, the curve curves because it spins.

i guess the "knuckle curve" can only mean it is thrown with the knuckles a certian way.


also cool in soccer when a kick occasionally knuckles. in the last world cup, perhaps because of how the ball was seamlessly constructed, i seem to recall a larger number than usual of shots on goal with little spin. it was cool to see them flutter in slow mo HD.
 
2012-08-23 01:15:49 PM

rickythepenguin: in the mid 2000's the "Knuckle Curve" was a popular pitch. I never understood that. The knuck knucks because it doesn't spin, the curve curves because it spins.

i guess the "knuckle curve" can only mean it is thrown with the knuckles a certian way.


also cool in soccer when a kick occasionally knuckles. in the last world cup, perhaps because of how the ball was seamlessly constructed, i seem to recall a larger number than usual of shots on goal with little spin. it was cool to see them flutter in slow mo HD.


If you put a lot of pressure on the ball with your middle finger and thumb and barely hold it with your index fingernail, you almost don't have to turn the wrist to get a good curveball action. Didn't Pedro throw his that way?
 
2012-08-23 01:31:08 PM

ghall3: NeoCortex42: Yep. If I had a shutout relief guy in my bullpen, I'd use him in the seventh or eighth when the game is on the line. Bringing him in with a two- or three-run lead in the ninth with nobody on base is just stat-padding for saves.

Exactly. They should create (or promote better) a stat to take those situations into account. Also, I miss the guys who regularly saved games pitching more than one inning. Why is the highest paid relief pitcher only able to pitch 1 inning a game and 70 innings a year. Wouldn't you want the best pitcher in the bullpen to pitch more than that?

Baseball managers are stupid. Well...too afraid to get fired because the old-school media types would rail against them if it didn't work out.


A friend of mine who is a statistician did an online article for SI.com. The stats say to use the closer in the 7th or 8th inning if there was a possibility of losing a lead or tie.
 
2012-08-23 01:41:00 PM

zarberg: rickythepenguin: in the mid 2000's the "Knuckle Curve" was a popular pitch. I never understood that. The knuck knucks because it doesn't spin, the curve curves because it spins.

i guess the "knuckle curve" can only mean it is thrown with the knuckles a certian way.


also cool in soccer when a kick occasionally knuckles. in the last world cup, perhaps because of how the ball was seamlessly constructed, i seem to recall a larger number than usual of shots on goal with little spin. it was cool to see them flutter in slow mo HD.

If you put a lot of pressure on the ball with your middle finger and thumb and barely hold it with your index fingernail, you almost don't have to turn the wrist to get a good curveball action. Didn't Pedro throw his that way?


Mussina used that pitch as well.
 
2012-08-23 01:45:25 PM
A friend of mine who is a statistician did an online article for SI.com. The stats say to use the closer in the 7th or 8th inning if there was a possibility of losing a lead or tie.

There is a lot of different ways to look at the closer issue. The problem is the position has become a mental obstical to many relief pitchers.

There are many pitchers who when they need to fill in for the closer due to injury totally crumble. I remember Ryan Madson had this issue for 2, 3 years until he was THE guy last year.

Then you also have the case of many closers who get knocked around when they're not in a save situation.. either ahead by 4+ or a tie game.

So there is more to it than stats.

Then if you take this into account, you get your answer to the other question: Why can't they go more than 1 inning?

Well, a manager does not want to work his closer more than an inning because most relief pitchers if they go 2 innings will be unavailable the next day. A manager would rather scratch to get to the 9th and use his closer in the 9th than use up his closer for 2 innings in one game. Why? Because of my first point. They want the closer available for 2 straight games, and not put a non-closer in the next day to potentially blow a win.

So the managers are cautious about their closers until the playoffs. Then you'll see more 5, 6 out closes because the individual games are much more important.
 
2012-08-23 02:09:19 PM

Nanny Statesman: I'm not normally that interested in baseball, but I'm definitely going to see this. That looked quite interesting.


Once you understand the dynamic between the pitcher and the batter, and how pitch counts and base runners can dramatically change a pitcher's approach to getting the batter out, baseball becomes an absolutely fascinating game.

/ People begging for a strike out on an 0-2 count are morons.
 
2012-08-23 02:44:53 PM

InfrasonicTom: also cool in soccer when a kick occasionally knuckles. in the last world cup, perhaps because of how the ball was seamlessly constructed, i seem to recall a larger number than usual of shots on goal with little spin. it was cool to see them flutter in slow mo HD.

If you put a lot of pressure on the ball with your middle finger and thumb and barely hold it with your index fingernail, you almost don't have to turn the wrist to get a good curveball action. Didn't Pedro throw his that way?

Mussina used that pitch as well.


I survived high school baseball while being a pretty shiatty athlete by learning how to throw junk. I tried to learn both the knuckleball and knucklecurve, but my hands were too small. I got by with learning how to cut the ball and get good movement on a 2-seamer and changing speeds and arm angles a lot.

It also meant that I had no chance at college ball, though, even on a div III team.
 
2012-08-23 03:03:29 PM

MugzyBrown: There is a lot of different ways to look at the closer issue.


I agree that a lot of it is psychological, however, that shouldn't be an excuse. The paradigm can switch so that they adjust...considering the closer role didn't exist 30yrs ago or so it shouldn't even take that long to switch to something more effective.

The fact that closers tend to do worse in tie game or +4 run leads makes it even more obvious that something is wrong. Does that mean they aren't giving it 100% since it is not a save situation and thus won't impact their salary as much? Or is it more subtle?

Either way how relievers are used should change.


As for the two innings thing...if the first part changes (when they are used) then this would follow. It would make more sense to use the better relievers longer I think.

Would love to see some simulation leagues done many many times and what the results would be if 1/2 the teams changed how they managed the bullpen vs the ones that don't
 
2012-08-23 03:53:57 PM

ghall3: I agree that a lot of it is psychological, however, that shouldn't be an excuse. The paradigm can switch so that they adjust...considering the closer role didn't exist 30yrs ago or so it shouldn't even take that long to switch to something more effective.

The fact that closers tend to do worse in tie game or +4 run leads makes it even more obvious that something is wrong. Does that mean they aren't giving it 100% since it is not a save situation and thus won't impact their salary as much? Or is it more subtle?


Are you going to be the manager who decides to shift the psychology of your team?

Athletes are creatures of habit and routine, when you knock them out of their routines, they don't work out very well.

That may not have been true 20 years ago, but with athletes who have been training their whole lives, that's what you end up with
 
2012-08-23 04:41:45 PM
mlblogsthemax.files.wordpress.com
 
2012-08-23 06:18:28 PM

Rent Party: / People begging for a strike out on an 0-2 count are morons.



Often, yes.  But as a pitcher you have to be a bit inconsistent with your strategy, so as to not become predictable.  If a pitcher never, ever threw a strike on 0-2... the batter would always take in that situation.
 
2012-08-23 06:27:11 PM

downstairs: Rent Party: / People begging for a strike out on an 0-2 count are morons.


Often, yes.  But as a pitcher you have to be a bit inconsistent with your strategy, so as to not become predictable.  If a pitcher never, ever threw a strike on 0-2... the batter would always take in that situation.


Fair enough, it's the exceptions that prove the rule, but generally, if you have three pitches to work with and you hang something out over the plate, they call that a "mistake," and some kid gets a souvenir.

Throwing off the plate is an attempt to get the batter to reach for one. If you're Curt Shilling or Roger Clemens or Felix Hernandez, you can make up your own rules and generally get away with it. If you're Chumpy McSplitfinger, go with the odds.

/ For those that think baseball is boring except for home runs, pay attention to Mr. Stairs and me.
// Pitching is where it's at.
 
2012-08-24 12:10:59 AM

Rent Party: Nanny Statesman: I'm not normally that interested in baseball, but I'm definitely going to see this. That looked quite interesting.

Once you understand the dynamic between the pitcher and the batter, and how pitch counts and base runners can dramatically change a pitcher's approach to getting the batter out, baseball becomes an absolutely fascinating game.

/ People begging for a strike out on an 0-2 count are morons.


It's always been my impression that most sports are awesome once you know enough about them to get everything out of watching them. I guess the issue is in getting the knowledge. Football got to me first and other football second, but I bet someday I'll start watching baseball seriously.
 
2012-08-24 09:30:42 AM

Rent Party: For those that think baseball is boring except for home runs, pay attention to Mr. Stairs and me.
// Pitching is where it's at.


I love great pitching. It's fun watching Cliff Lee when he's dealing. He has this odd attitude about him.

On a called strike 3, he's running off the mound so fast he's halfway to the dugout before the ump makes the call.

I love when nothing's left in the picture frame but the confused batter, the ump and the ball the catcher left in the dirt
 
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