Former Charger quarterback Doug Flutie is trying to get back into professional sports. However he’s picking up a baseball instead of a football.
The 50 year old Flutie, who played for San Diego from 2001 through 2004, is part of a group of ex-football players attempting to learn how to throw a knuckleball for a new MLB TV series called “The Next Knuckler”. The group (which includes former Trojan John David Booty among five total contestants) will learn from former Boston Red Sox knuckler Tim Wakefield for the right to pitch in a spring training game with Arizona Diamondbacks. Though his age may seem to give Flutie the longest shot at winning the contest, the knuckleball is the ultimate equalizer. Hall of Famer Phil Niekro pitched until he was 48, fellow knuckler Hoyt Wilhelm pitched until he was 49 and Wakefield himself retired at age 44. Plus Flutie certainly hasn’t slowed down athletically since he retired from the NFL, as Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk says:
Don’t count out the old man in this one. I met Flutie last summer and learned that he plays in a pretty hardcore over-30 baseball league. And it turns out that he’s actually really good. It would not shock me at all if he made it.
Even with athleticism of the contestants, the knuckleball is among the most difficult pitches to master. R.A. Dickey is the only current major leaguer that throws the pitch and Bob Uecker once said “The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling and then pick it up.”
So tune in next Wednesday at 9 to see Flutie in action.
Also, if you can’t wait that long for Flutie-related content, you can always check out The Flutie Brothers Band.
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