The “The Next Knuckler” starring former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Tim Wakefield is a pretty addicting show. We weren’t sure how baseball would play in the reality television genre, but all-in-all, I enjoyed it.
We watched the premiere episode as well as episode two on the MLB Network. The MLB Productions reality series shows how damn hard throwing a knuckleball really is. Even for some of the best athletes. Wakefield is teaching the knuckler to former NCAA quarterbacks–and some of them have spent time in various professional football leagues including the NFL and CFL.
You probably recognize their names: Doug Flutie of Hail Mary fame from his time at Boston College is the big name, John David Booty of USC, former Major Leaguer Josh Booty who was also a quarterback at LSU, David Greene, a southpaw from Georgia and Ryan Perrilloux of LSU and Jacksonville State are the contestants.
Here is a link to an interview by Matt Moscona who spoke with former LSU QB Ryan Perrilloux about his participation on the show.
Perrilloux was working his tail off throwing knuckle balls at one-thirty in the morning. The guy wants it…bad. Wakefield told the 6’3″ right hander that he could tell that Perrilloux really wants to win the competition, which impressed Wakefield.
When the camera was on the heralded football recruit who got into numerous off the field incidents at LSU and Jacksonville State, it was easy to see the passion that Perrilloux has for sports. He was also crushing baseballs out of the park showing off his athleticism.
We won’t spoil it for you with who was eliminated, but we will reveal that Perrilloux is still alive. The winner of the contest, which is already known, will get a shot with the Arizona Diamondbacks in spring training.
Snakes President Derrick Hall had this to say recently:
“I doubt whoever it is will end up on the major-league roster, but our farm director says that if he’s not major-league material, he could definitely end up in Double-A or Triple-A if he wants to take it further, I know a few of the contestants had some really good ones working. Age really isn’t a factor, so we may have something on our hands that we couldn’t have had with the emergence of this show.”
While watching the show we couldn’t think of the “Million Dollar Arm” contest and wonder if the Pirates will get in on the action.
As you know, the idea of discovering a pitcher through a reality TV show was tried back in 2008. The winners received $1 million and a chance to try out for a big-league team. Rinku Singh and Dinesh Kumar Patel were the lucky contestants who went to L.A. and worked with Tom House, Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.
Singh is a southpaw who has been pitching in the Bucs system for two seasons. Last year he pitched 72 innings for the West Virginia Power and allowed 24 earned runs. Not too bad for a guy who never pitched before 2008.
We aren’t sure who is going to win ‘The Next Knuckler,’ but the former big-leaguer, Booty seems to me to be the favorite. But if Perrilloux continues to improve, he might be worth a look too. Check out the show, many of the knuckler fraternity make appearances. And Perrilloux has the look of a man that really wants to master the knuckler and join the club.
We are dreaming out loud here, but how sick would a knuckle baller be for batters to face after seeing some Gerrit Cole/Jameson Taillon heat? Yikes.