After the Atlanta Braves edged out the Oakland Athletics 4-3 in their Saturday, July 1 game, R.A. Dickey said of his performance that he “had a good enough knuckleball where I was getting a lot of weak contact. Even the inning they scored their run, it was little nubber up the middle, a ground ball to the right side, a bleeder to left. So that’s kind of how I gauge how the knuckleball was, how well they were squaring it up. They only really squared up a couple.”
Summing up the Braves’ season thus far, the Tifton Gazette’s Becky Taylor says the 42-year-old has been on the upswing:
Julio Tehran has not been strong, but Sean Newcomb has. To baseball’s dismay, Bartolo Colon ran out of gas, but R.A. Dickey seems to have found a second wind. Dickey is now tied with Tehran and Jim Johnson for the team lead in wins, with six….
What’s going on? What’s causing all this?
I hesitate to compare this to 1991—nothing compares to 1991 for its magic—but the basic stats are similar….
Atlanta had the right mix in 1991 to pull off a title.
I am not that optimistic that they can do it again in 2017.
But wouldn’t it be sweet if they could?
We’re not sure that a hope so hedged counts as a prediction. But if the Braves end up winning the World Series years, well, hey, you heard it (quoted) here first.
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In The New York Times, Tyler Kepner has published a fine profile knuckleball pitcher Jim Bouton, author of the groundbreaking memoir of Ball Four, who is dealing with the aftermath of a stroke he suffered five years ago.
He remembers that his mother, Trudy, first encouraged him to take notes on his zany baseball life. Those notes—mostly on the Pilots in 1969, their only year of existence before they moved to Milwaukee— formed the foundation for “Ball Four,” which was edited by the sportswriter Leonard Shecter.
“Some of the players I didn’t really like that much, but I was listening to them, and they became interesting,” Bouton said, sitting in an armchair on the porch. “I had no idea. They were funny, interesting characters.”
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We’ve found a July 4th knuckleball pitched by an “Unbelievable Knuckleball Pitcher,” as the YouTube video is entitled. He wasn’t up against any batter, though, so it’s kind of hard to judge how the ten-year-old would do under pressure.