WABC: Ideal Forecast for Cy Young Candidate

Posted: January 6, 2013 in 1

SEE THE STORY HERE ON 7online.

It’s a pitch so fickle, even the weather can mess it up.  But with the success of Mets Pitcher RA Dickey and his knuckleball this season, even Hollywood has taken interest.   A documentary debuting tonight in NY features the much-doubted, yet still-celebrated KNUCKLEBALL.  Meteorologist Amy Freeze found out why this is a story beyond baseball… and how the Knuckleball may get its very first Cy Young award.

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Tricky. Magic. Even called a circus act. Not many trust nor believe in it. Back in May – RA Dickey told Amy Freeze his pitch even depends on the wind.  And the knuckleball has never been tied to baseball’s greatest pitching award.

Former Knuckleballer Phil Niekro said, "There’s never been a knukleball pitcher win the Cy Young, never."   The concept behind a new movie about the pitch is that it actually could be a metaphor for beating the odds. Doing something that others say cannot be done, that’s what “Knuckleball” documentary implies. 

These two Manhattan filmmakers Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg rallied a dwindling group of pitchers to film a story that celebrates the underdog. Stern says the knuckleballers in the movie share a brotherhood and a commonality of "what it took to overcome obstacles to pursue their dreams.  We thinks it’s universal story in that way.”

 At Soho's MLB Batcave RA Dickey met with aspiring pitchers who want to throw the same pitch that he is having so much success with right now.  RA actually took a huge risk in his 30s to change his pitching style to something that no other pitcher is trying right now in MLB.   He said, "the lure is that is looks asy.  throwing 65-70 mph people say I could maybe do that… but reality is tough… really difficult to take spin off a ball so that a hitter cannot hit it." 

The pitch is complex.  The grip.  The unpredictability.  A hang nail can disrupt it.  Even rain storms are dangerous to its succes.  But things have gone RA Dickey's way… even the forecasts have helped his record.   "Weather has been pretty cooperative… just Atlanta with the rain early in the season then one hot home game that was incredibly humid with no wind.  So, just 2 of 30 starts the weather affected me." 

When it is slicing the atmosphere just right,  former Red Sox Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield says baseball’s most disrespected pitch can leave hitters squirming.  " I remember Derek Jeter used to do this (shake his hands) to me all the time when he struck out." The pitch bothered some hitters.

Dickey found his biggest success with strikeouts against Baltimore this season, but "Jayosn Werth had hit off me previously, so when I did strike him out,  I was, on the inside, doing a fist pump!"

The "Knuckleball" documentary reveals what happens when the pitch goes wrong.  But in real life, there could be a “made for movie” ending.  His comrads in the knuckleball club are confident Dickey could be the first knuckleballer to ever take home the biggest prize in MLB pitching awards.  Tim Wakefield, "Yes on the record, it’s good enough to win. I believe he should win a Cy Young award this year. Phil Niekro, "Tight now we’re looking for him to win it. He’s got my vote all the way.

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Meteorologist Amy Freeze

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