Don’t believe it. Don’t believe for a second that just any untrained body can waltz onto the mound and start flinging a knuckleball that gets batters whirling and gigging and tripping all over themselves. It takes a Bryan Holaday.
We’ve always said that there’s more untapped knuckleballer talent within the professional ranks of those who just “fool around with” the pitch than we’ve been thus far privileged to witness. So, maybe not everybody in the MLB is developing his very own knuckleball. But the number of fool-arounders is a lot higher than, say, two—which is the total number of fulltime knuckleballers gracing in major league baseball today.
Every once in a while someone steps forth to further justify this assumption. @ThePitcherList tweet of July 2:
Eduardo Nunez just fell over after whiffing at backup catcher Bryan Holaday’s 60 mph pitch
Or as Tully Corcoran headlines it at thebiglead.com, “Eduardo Nunez Whiffed So Hard on This Knuckleball He Fell Over”:
[A]s delightful as knuckleballs are for the pitcher and everyone watching, when you’re in the batter’s box, an incoming knuckleball is something you’re merely trying to survive without humiliating yourself.
It is sheer terror. Terror that you will wind up like poor Eduardo Nunez, who whiffed so hard on a knuckleball from Bryan Holaday [pictured] that everyone in school is laughing and no girl will ever talk to him again.
We should learn a lesson from the knuckleball and not over-spin things. Persons of solidity and worth are going to recognize that there is more to Eduardo Nunez than his failure to connect with any particular blindsiding knuckleball. Besides, the purpose of the pitch is really only to destroy batting prowess, not also to embarrass the person whose prowess has suddenly been rendered irrelevant. Could happen to anyone.
Making the moment all the more special is that Bryan Holaday is not a pitcher at all. He’s the Rangers’ backup catcher, which makes sense because non-pitchers always spend a lot of time on their knuckleballs, in sort of the same way NBA players practice half-court shots when they’re just screwing around.
Dallas News SportsDay: “Position players pitching alert: Bryan Holaday brings Twins’ Eduardo Nunez to the ground with devastating ‘knuckleball’ ”:
Minnesota Twins designated hitter Eduardo Nunez was 4-for-4 in their 17-5 win over the Texas Rangers on Saturday…until he faced Rangers catcher Bryan Holaday in the eighth.
A thorn in the Rangers side all afternoon, Holaday brought Nunez to the floor (literally) with this devastating “knuckleball.”…
Holaday pitched 1 1/3 innings, the second longest outing ever by a Rangers position player, and he’s the first position player to pitch since Adam Rosales, who did it twice in 2015.
Cut to Cut4 at MLB.com: “Catcher Bryan Holaday’s knuckleball is so nasty it put Eduardo Nunez on his backside”:
With the Rangers trailing the Twins big on Saturday afternoon, Texas called on Holaday — who, we feel compelled to remind you, is a catcher by trade — to come in and mop up the final four outs of the game. Little did we know, America’s latest knuckleballing sensation had been born. Holaday not only pitched a perfect 1 1/3 innings in the Rangers’ 17-5 loss, he buckled poor Eduardo Nunez with a 60-mph knuckler.
If Holaday isn’t immediately inserted into the rotation, the Rangers have done us all a great disservice.