Friday, January 4, 2013


It's a busy night for Blue Jays fans, so stay tuned for another blog post shortly following this one.

Earlier this evening, I attended the screening of the new documentary film Knuckleball! at Tall Boys Craft Beer House around Bloor and Ossington in Toronto.  This meet-up, organized by Minor Leaguer at Blue Bird Banter, showed me two things.  1 - How much buzz there is behind the Blue Jays this year, and 2 - How popular the Blue Jays blogging community has become.

The place was pretty packed tonight (exceeding the bar owners' expectations) and R.A. Dickey elicited several cheers a couple of times through the film.

The film itself, produced and directed by Rikki Stern and Annie Sundberg, was an informative and entertaining look at the knuckleball, primarily through the two active pitchers at the time of filming: Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey.

Part of the film was a mini-biography of the two hurlers, while the rest of it followed them through the 2011 season.  Unfortunately, this was a pretty uneventful season and the only drama that this storyline really tapped into was Wakefield's quest for his 200th victory with the Boston Red Sox.  However, the back-stories of both Wakefield and Dickey are so unorthodox that there was certainly interest created by looking at them.

I felt that there could have been a larger focus on the "outcast-ness" of knuckleballers within the baseball community, and although this is a theme of the film, it only seems to come out in interviews with some of the retired guys like Phil Niekro, Charlie Hough and Jim Bouton.  I felt like some of the stories of the older guys and more attention to the history of the pitch itself could have given the film a more compelling narrative, particularly since it ends with Wakefield retiring and passing the torch to Dickey.  I also thought that the directors squandered a magical moment where Dickey visits Hough in California and receives some sage advice that immediately pays dividends on the mound but was glossed over in the film.

The production values were excellent, and having lived in Boston and attended several games at Fenway Park, it was great to see that ballpark presented in all its glory in Hi-Def in the film.

For baseball fans, this is a great look at two of the modern day practitioners of baseball's most bizarre pitch and it definitely it sheds some light on the adversity that they continue to go through being the pitching community's odd men out.

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