Logically speaking, there are only so many questions one can ask about the knuckleball. Illogically speaking, there are trillions.
How does the knuckleball work? How do you hold the knuckleball? Do you know where the knuckleball is going? Who's the Zen master of the knuckleball? Since you hold a knuckleball with your fingertips, why isn't it called the fingertipball? Does the knuckleball have rotation? Does the knuckleball have feelings? Why did the knuckleball cross the road?
Meet Lance Niekro. He is the 21-year-old son of knuckleballer Joe Niekro (and a nephew of Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro). He is clean-cut, polite and polished, but he is also excruciatingly tired of answering questions concerning the knuckleball. So to make this easier and get the obvious questions out of the way:
Does Lance Niekro throw a knuckleball?
Is it good?
Yup. "I believe that if Lance focused just on being a knuckleball pitcher," says Chuck Anderson, the baseball coach at Florida Southern, where Niekro is a redshirt sophomore, "he'd stand a very good shot of going far in professional baseball."
How did he learn the knuckleball?
"When I was young, my dad taught it to me," says Lance. "I've messed around with it on my own since then."
How often does he use it in games?