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Life Is Like Hitting a Knuckleball

Everything about baseball is predicated on precision and predictability. A .260 hitter might have a good or bad year, but eventually he will revert to his norm. He will hit .260. It's the same with pitching. Conventional hurlers deliberately try to spin the ball in a certain way. Depending on that spin, the ball will sink or curve, break left or right.

But there's one notable exception to baseball's predictability—the knuckleball. A good knuckleball hardly spins at all. Because a knuckler doesn't spin, it's entirely unpredictable. Charlie Hough, one of the greatest knuckleball pitchers of all time once said, "The wind currents make the ball bob around like a Whiffle ball and it might break two or three different times on the way to the plate." As a result, the pitcher and the catcher—let alone the hitter—have no idea where the ball is going.

The knuckleball throws a hitter's hitting instincts off-kilter, especially for big sluggers with big swings who have less time to react. Yankee outfielder Bobby Murcer once said the challenge of hitting a knuckleball was like "trying to eat Jell-O with chopsticks." Another Yankee, Mickey Mantle, said bluntly: "Knuckleballers. I hate 'em all." And as for catching a knuckleball pitcher? Good luck. Joe Torre once said, "[Catchers need to] use a big glove and a pair of rosary beads."

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Troubles; Difficulties—There's a saying: Sometimes life throws us a curveball. But sometimes it's even worse. When life throws us a knuckleball it's like trying to eat Jell-O with chop sticks. (2) Guidance; God's Will—Sometimes determining God's will is like trying to hit a knuckleball.

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