Directed by: Ricki Stern & Annie Sundberg
95 minutes

Sneak Preview Screening

Coaches don’t trust it, hitters are baffled by it, and even fans are suspicious of it. It’s the much-maligned knuckleball pitch, and in a game where speed and power draw fans to the park, the knuckleball’s slowness and unpredictability instill anxiety in everyone from management to spectators.

Of course, Boston Red Sox fans are especially familiar with the knuckleball: longtime pitcher Tim Wakefield became, over the course of his career, one of the greatest and most famous knuckleball pitchers of all time. KNUCKLEBALL! follows Wakefield during his final season before retirement, as he pursues his 200th win as a starting pitcher.

The film also features the only other active MLB knuckleball pitcher, R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets, whom Wakefield has mentored. When Wakefield and Dickey sit down to swap war stories with legendary knuckleball pitchers Phil Niekro and Charlie Hough, even a nonfan will feel the strength of the unusual bond they share. By focusing on an underexamined aspect of the game, IFFBoston alums Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg (JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, IFFBoston 2010) breathe new life into the baseball documentary. They also show how these pitchers found their own identity within the game, despite the many challenges they faced as adherents to the underdog of pitches.

—Kristina Aikens