Ryan Franklin and I (and the St. Louis Cardinals fanbase at large) haven't always gotten along. There was the weird retirement and then the weird unretirement; there's the seemingly yearly second-half collapse; there's his ability to make even the most controlled 1-2-3 save into a minor ordeal, complicated by his seven-pitch/no-out-pitch repertoire. His name is synonymous with getting drunk and forgetting things on Viva El Birdos.â†µ
But now Ryan Franklin is throwing a knuckleball—frequently!—and all is forgiven. Yesterday afternoon Franklin threw two in a row to Chase Headley, freezing him for strike three on a 76 mile per hour pitch Gameday miscategorized as a curveball. Franklin's knuckler, like his facial hair, isn't conventional—for one thing, he doesn't throw it all the time; for another, he's finally in a category in which he throws much harder than the average pitcher.
For a long time Ryan Franklin has been more boring than the average closer. This year, he's just vaulted in front of the pack. Long may he float.â†µ