Believe in Your Pitch

This movie looks awesome:

So I played ball in high school…or I should say I sat the bench in high school. I essentially had no arm. I could hit pretty well, but wasn’t very fast and really couldn’t throw, so I was a liability in the outfield especially.

None of us save one or two were college ball material. One of us made it to the small time minors and it ended quickly there. I guess technically speaking I got the closest to the major leagues, covering home games of the Yanks and Mets as a reporter for nearly 10 years. I was going to get there one way or another.

But back to the knuckleball. My high school teammmate Rob Riorden learned the pitch and it solidified his high school career. Rob will deny this, but I used to be able to hit Rob pretty well, not great, but I’d put the ball in play and often get on base in neighborhood games and in high school scrimmages. I hit a rocket in practice against him once for a rare double and he threw his glove in madness and concluded that “It’s just not my day if Hayes can get a double.”

Thanks, I think.

But then his junior year, Rob learned the knuckleball.

The ball looked as big as a beach ball coming in and then it practically disappeared. It would come in slow, like a bad change-up and then it seemed to speed up and have some kind of weird rotation just as it entered the stratosphere of the hitting zone.

Truth be told, I couldn’t touch Rob when he threw that to me. And he knew it. He struck me out in practice on it once and I threw my bat into the batting cage, an incident that got me the opportunity to pick up all the equipment after the game and bring it into the locker room.

Rob was a year behind me in school. So when I went off to college he ended up having a great season as a Senior. The club had a pretty good year and when I asked the coach about the season on a visit he replied. “We had an OK year, but if it wasn’t for Riorden, it would have been awful. Can you believe that junkballer went like 6-2?”

I could. The knuckleball is just what some guys need.

So I’m looking forward to the film and I’m hoping Rob is too. R.A. Dickey is up for the Cy Young this year and is one of two knuckleballers in the big leagues. He’s a great guy and I’m rooting for him and I hope you are too. Take a gander at this:

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