Root for Knuckles

Chris Nowlin throws the knuckleball.  Nowlin is one of the non-roster invitees trying to crack the Calgary Vipers roster when training camp opens on Saturday, May 9th, on the hallowed grounds of Foothills Stadium.  (Nowlin’s birthday is on May 10th.)

I’m a big fan of the knuckleball.  I think it’s the most entertaining pitch in baseball to watch.  I’ve only ever seen it on TV and video, however, and Chris Nowlin earning a spot in the Vipers pitching rotation means I’ll get a chance to finally witness this beauty-of-a-pitch live.

I’m rooting for Chris “Knuckles” Nowlin.

Nowlin also has an amazing, TV-movie-esque story.  Only (relatively, in the grand scheme of things) recently has he taken up the art of throwing baseball’s weirdest and most poetic pitch.  Nowlin honed his skills not by strictly playing competitive baseball, but by throwing tennis balls against a shed and wiffleballs to his buddies.  And then, this…

One day he [Nowlin] went to an open tryout for the Cincinnati Reds… The [pitcher] in front of Nowlin had a 91 mph fastball, but the first one he threw was smashed for a home run. Nowlin said he faced the same six batters as the first guy, struck out three of them and got three infield popups.

It wasn’t enough to get a contract with the Reds, but the tryout gave Nowlin some encouragement.

So, Nowlin goes from “nowhere” to striking out three batters at an MLB camp.  How many others can produce such a story?

And even though his intro music is bound to be a NIN song, doesn’t this song below by the Talking Heads seem like it could be about the flutterball herself?

More knuckleball awesomeness here, here and here.

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