Sanity Break: Flight of the Knuckleball

My brother-in-law has had to be hospitalized for his dementia, and who knows how it’ll turn out? Please pray for him.

Meanwhile, permit me this indulgence. All my life I’ve wanted to throw a knuckleball, and have yet to accomplish it. Watch the video and see how the ball wobbles and wanders on its way to the catcher, who almost drops it. No wonder it’s so hard to hit.

The shortstop on our softball team, Sandy, had a terrific knuckleball. You really couldn’t tell where it was going to go. It’s hard to describe what I saw while waiting to catch it. A softball isn’t supposed to flutter like a moth! As a first baseman, I used to dread the possibility that someday Sandy would give in to temptation and throw me one of these fluttering moths during a game; but he never did.

It’s raining now, so I can’t go outside and try again with some black walnuts. By the time I was fifty I’d finally mastered the curveball, then the screwball; but the knuckleball continues to elude me. I’ll keep trying, though. It’s goofy things like this that keep you young.

10 comments on “Sanity Break: Flight of the Knuckleball

    1. You’re supposed to grip the ball (or the walnut) with your knuckles or your fingernails and somehow prevent it from rotating after you throw it, which makes it subject to air currents and other variations. I haven’t been able to manage that. Yeah, I just went out and tried again.

    2. I could never do that. I have a wicked backspin when I throw. Were I interested in handball I’d probably be good at it, but I’m not and the backspin happens whether I intend for it to or not.

  1. Prayers for your brother-in-law and your family, Lee.

    As for the knuckleball, I tried to see how the pitcher was throwing it, but that part of the clip is so fast, it’s hard to see. The one thing I think I saw was how he gripped it – with his fingernails, knuckles protruding somewhat. And it looks more like he’s pushing it forward out of his hand with the heel of his hand rather than actually throwing it with the force of his arm. Of course, I’m no expert in throwing any kind of baseball lol

    1. Funny, when you think of it. You always hear how throwing the curve is very, very bad for young arms, while the knuckler is hardly any strain at all.

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