Knuckleball! is a 2012 documentary about the notoriously tricky baseball pitch. The film focuses on Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey, the last two knuckleballers, during the 2011 baseball season. The two pitchers talk about how the knuckleball started as a gimmick, but how learning to throw it brought them out of obscurity and gave them longevity. They point out that it’s hard to hit because the movement is so unpredictable. But they are also quick to point out that the unpredictable movement is hard to control. Passed balls, beaned batters, and monster homeruns are just some of the unfortunate side effects.
The documentary was directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg and runs about 93 minutes long. That’s about 33 minutes longer than it needs to be. The film doesn’t need to drag on for that long. Just show the pitch, show what it means to the pitchers, and show how the knuckleball affects catchers, hitters, and managers. That’s all they needed to do. We don’t need that much backstory on R.A. Dickey’s journey to the Majors. That has very little to do with the baseball’s movement. The film is called Knuckleball!, not Dickey!
The film is available on Netflix and that’s where I watched it. You should watch it too if you like baseball and/or documentaries. It’s not as good as the ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries, but it will give you some insight to an underrated pitch. It’s not always reliable, yet you can build a career out of it with some determination.
Critically Rated at 12/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young