Two Orioles pitchers are learning the knuckler

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When Tim Wakefield was winding down I was worried that we’d not have any knuckleballers. Then R.A. Dickey emerged from years of obscurity. Dickey, of course, will not last forever, so we’re faced again with the possible extinction of knuckleballers.

Thank goodness there are two of them on Dagobah right now, learning from the knuckleball Yoda:

[Zach] Clark and [Eddie] Gamboa are getting plenty of help as they try to learn the finer points of the knuckleball. Pitching at Double-A Bowie, they’ve been receiving tutelage from Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, whose 318 career major league victories are the most ever by a knuckleballer.

They’re in the Orioles’ system and have been tasked by Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter to get crafty.

I still hope that one day the knuckler will re-emerge as just another pitch otherwise conventional pitchers have in their repertoire, as was the case for much of the 20th century. But having to  live in a world where it is primarily seen as a means of salvaging otherwise stalled careers is better than nothing.

There have been three walkoff grand slams in the past week

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Last night Jason Kipnis led the Indians to victory over the Chicago White Sox via a walkoff grand slam. Such a beast is a pretty special, but lately they’ve been surprisingly common. Indeed, Kipnis’ walkoff slam was the third one in the space of a week.

Francisco Mejia of the Padres hit a walkoff salami on Sunday afternoon to lead San Diego over the Texas Rangers. Sal Perez of the Royals did the deed on Friday against the Twins.

As Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com tweeted this morning, there were only two walkoff grand slams in the entire 2016 season. Having three in a week is pretty darn cool, eh?