Rany Jazayerli’s not the only guy around the office who’s a sucker for a knuckleballer. I was the one egging him on when he suggested picking Charlie Zink for that ill-fated prospect listing. But watching Wakefield’s gem today reminded me just how much fun a knuckler can be. When he’s on, Wakefield sends batters back to the dugout muttering. You see this occasionally with new guys, guys a hitter hasn’t seen before, like Ryan Howard after Tim Lincecum befuddled him with a curve-heat-HEAT sequence. But while a good hitter can answer (as Howard did with that bomb the next time he faced Lincecum), a good knuckler can only beat himself.
The Jays have seen Wakefield I don’t know how many times (Retrosheet, help!) and still haven’t figured him out. Guess what? They won’t. When he’s on, he’s unhittable. Gyroball? Bah, no one’s figured out how to hit the good ol’ knuckler. Eddie Cicotte would be proud. If you can’t love a knuckleball, go watch the NBA.