ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

‘The Next Knuckler’ is Josh Booty, and he’s with the Diamondbacks now

Feb 22, 2013, 4:34 AM | Updated: Feb 26, 2013, 6:23 pm

Follow @AZSports...

LISTEN: Josh Booty, "The Next Knuckler" winner

If you want to win, you’ve got to lose the spin

That was the motto of MLB Network’s latest reality TV show, The Next Knuckler, which was hosted by former Boston Red Sox teammates and World Series champions Tim Wakefield and Kevin Millar.

The contest aimed at providing a former quarterback an invitation to attend Arizona Diamondbacks’ spring training to compete as a knuckleball-throwing pitcher, and that it did.

The winner of the show is ex-Louisiana State University quarterback Josh Booty, who at 37 will put his ability to the test when he reports to camp at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“I’m going to take this serious because it’s my last chance to do something crazy,” Booty said. “If I can throw one inning in a game then I’ll know it was worth it.

“I’m going for it.”

To get to Arizona, Booty had to beat out former Boston College Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, Georgia’s David Greene, LSU and Jacksonville State’s Ryan Perrilloux, and his own brother, USC’s John David Booty.

Booty is significantly older than most who start a pitching career, but said he is confident in his talent and thrilled to see what the future holds.

“I know it’s an experiment but I must be the best guy to pull it off at my age,” he said. “I know the chances are slim but I’m ultra-competitive and I’d love to see what I can do.”

He’ll get that chance in spring training, as it is an opportunity to get better over a span of 3-4 weeks. Booty said the time will allow him to get ready to pitch in live games.

“I’ll be learning to pitch and be consistent against pro hitters,” Booty said. “I think I could be a great knuckleballer in 30-40 sessions.”

Helping Booty is the fact that this is not the first time he’s picking up a baseball. Before matriculating at LSU to play quarterback, Booty played high school baseball and was drafted fifth overall by the Florida Marlins in 1994.

He played in 478 minor league games and appeared in 13 Major League contests, where he posted a .269 batting average with four RBI.

“I think I was a little ahead because of my baseball experience,” he said. “I pitched in high school and for my Junior Olympic team.”

Booty said the only time he had ever tried throwing a knuckleball in his life was when he was just messing around with his teammates, but that was a long time ago.

“We used to goof off in high school practice with the knuckle but it was never anything serious,” he said. “I hadn’t thrown a baseball in 15 years.”

After spending time learning from knuckleball expert Tim Wakefield at “Dodgertown” in Vero Beach, Fla., where the contest was filmed, Booty will attempt to speed up his learning curve while working with Tom Candiotti, who is one of the top knucklers in league history. Candiotti is part of the Diamondbacks’ broadcasting crew.

But that’s not why the D-backs are involved.

Out of 30 teams in the league, one would wonder how they were the team selected to take on the knuckleball project.

The club’s general manager, Kevin Towers, said it was Arizona’s president and CEO Derrick Hall who started juggling the idea during ownership meetings.

Towers said he believes it could work out well for the team, having seen it happen before.

“I was with the Pirates when Wakefield went from being a first baseman to one of the better knuckleballers in the game,” he said. “To me it doesn’t matter where guys come from, whether it be independent leagues, the NFL, college football, as long as they get people out.

“It’ll be interesting to see how it works out.”

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Diamondbacks

Yilber Diaz...

Arizona Sports

Diamondbacks’ Yilber Diaz throws 2nd-straight quality start in win over Blue Jays

Diamondbacks prospect Yilber Diaz threw six innings of one-run ball for the second straight start to begin his major league career.

6 minutes ago

Druw Jones #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks awaits a pitch during the second inning of the All-Star F...

Arizona Sports

D-backs prospects Druw Jones, Deyvison De Los Santos record RBIs as NL wins All-Star Futures game

Diamondbacks prospects Druw Jones and Deyvison De Los Santos record RBIs in National League's 6-1 win in All-Star Futures game.

4 hours ago

Malcolm Moore...

Arizona Sports

2024 MLB Draft preview: How to watch and prospects the Diamondbacks could target

The 2024 MLB Draft gets underway in Fort Worth, Texas on Sunday. Here's a guide of how to watch and who the Diamondbacks could select.

7 hours ago

Yilber Diaz...

Alex Weiner

D-backs’ Yilber Diaz overcomes tremendous odds for MLB dream; ‘You can make a movie out of it’

Diamondbacks prospect Yilber Diaz washed windshields in Peru before receiving a break that would land him in MLB.

9 hours ago

Eugenio Suárez #28 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after hitting a solo home run against the At...

Bailey Leasure

Torey Lovullo: Eugenio Suarez told me ‘I’m going to be your guy’

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said he never lost confidence in third baseman Eugenio Suarez despite his struggles this season.

10 hours ago

Justin Martinez #63 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pours water on Geraldo Perdomo #2 after Perdomo hit...

Alex Weiner

Diamondbacks’ Geraldo Perdomo hits walk-off sac fly to beat Blue Jays

The Arizona Diamondbacks walked off the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on a Geraldo Perdomo sacrifice fly to score Corbin Carroll on Friday.

1 day ago

‘The Next Knuckler’ is Josh Booty, and he’s with the Diamondbacks now