May 8, 2012, 11:33 AM EDT
Sorry, I saw Susan Slusser’s headline from her piece on Jarrod Parker — “A’s Parker shaped by happenstance …” — and that’s the first thing I thought of.
That aside, it’s a good piece about Parker, his brother and growing up in baseball. Fun anecdotes and that sort of thing. And this:
Justin and Jarrod played all over the diamond, and that meant volunteering at pitcher occasionally.
“I was just messing around at the end of my freshman year, and a varsity guy was watching and said, ‘I think we’re going to get you on the mound a few times,’ ” Jarrod said. In his repertoire then: a since-retired knuckleball.
Whoever told Parker to quit throwing a knuckleball should be tried for high crimes.
Seriously: there was a time when a ton of pitchers had a knuckleball they could use on occasion. It didn’t make them “knuckleballers.” It was just a pitch that they had. A little dipsy-doodle they could whip out on occasion to keep hitters off balance. I have no idea why no one does that anymore.
My guess: some conventional wisdom about how throwing three knuckleballs a week totally screws up a pitcher’s mechanics or something. But there’s so much baseball conventional wisdom that isn’t all that wise, I wonder if there’s any real truth to that.
Anyway: whip out the knuckleball again, Jarrod. For the kids.
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