Had a great time last night at the World Financial Plaza enjoying the premiere of Knuckleball!, at the Tribeca Film Festival’s Drive-In Theatre. Before the movie there was plenty of activity on the plaza on what turned out to be a nice comfortable, rain free evening downtown. There were tents set up with different activities and free popcorn for movie goers but the area that had the biggest swarm of folks was the make shit bullpen where fans could line up and enter and get free instruction on how to throw a knuckleball.
As we stood off to the side (I was joined by my son and Mike Silva of NY Baseball Digest for the evening’s movie viewing we also met up with Tayrn Cooper and her husband Ed Leyro as well as having a fine chat with Shaun Clancy the proprietor of Foley’s NY) we were witness to a grand entrance by the Four Horseman of Knuckleballing, Jim Bouton, Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield and our own R.A. Dickey. The four headed to the make shift pen where a line snaked around the plaza for the opportunity to learn the secrets of throwing a knuckleball. Bouton, Hough and Wakefield were going in and out of the pen but Dickey stayed there for the full hour showing kids and some adults, the grip and release of the mysterious pitch, and seemed to be having a great time doing so.
The movie itself was very, very good. Even if you are not a baseball fan, you could still appreciate the stories of these players who with the exception of Phil Neikro, took on learning the knuckleball a last ditch effort to make it in the big leagues, so you get all the baseball footage and story line to keep the baseball junkie like me interested but you also get the human interest story for the non-fan. That is great movie making.
Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey are feature most prominently in the film, with great footage of Wakefield as a Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league first baseman and R.A. Dickey as a Tennessee Volunteer but my favorite scene in the film was a golf outing with Niekro, Dickey, Wakefield and Hough and the sit down they have afterwards discussing how each pitcher was introduced to the knuckleball.
The film will be showing during the Tribeca Film Festival and it will be out in DVD form as well, I know this because I was approached by someone from the film who was looking to get some material to add as extra footage for the DVD, so I was filmed talking about the knuckleball and R.A. Dickey and what he has meant to the Mets (the film crew loved my Mr. Mets cap) so hopefully I’ll make the director’s cut of Knuckleball!