Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

The toughest job in pro baseball

March 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Catching

It seems like more and more colleges and high school teams are moving towards quarterback style wristbands that have coded messages for signs and pitches.  I wrote a post a while back on what I thought about them.  The post is HERE if you haven’t read it.  Basically, the coach calls the sign or the pitch, the player looks at the wristband to decipher the code and now knows the play and/or calls the pitch.  These days, when it comes to calling pitches during the game, it certainly

A lot of talent but usually not a lot of experience calling pitches.

is not uncommon for a coach in the dugout to call every single pitch of every game.

Like most baseball fans, I’m starting to watch baseball games on TV and, of course, listen to the announcers.  When they speak of catchers, specifically when they speak of good catchers, they often mention how good the guy is at calling a game.  Understanding what pitch to call for depending on who is batting, who is pitching, the count, the number of outs, the inning, the number of runners on base, and the score is probably THE biggest part of being a major league catcher.  Even broader than that, it could be the most important aspect of any defense.

So let’s connect the two.  Coaches are increasingly taking over all the pitch calling during games but the biggest skill a catcher needs to have to make it to the major leagues is his ability to call a game.  Does anyone else see the obvious problem with this?

Major league teams are drafting catchers out of high school and college programs and giving some of them enormous sums of money to sign only to find that the guy has ZERO experience doing the most important part of their catching responsibilities!

That’s why I think professional catching instructors have the hardest job in pro baseball.  More and more of them are forced to work with catchers who don’t have a clue on how to call a game because their coaches since high school have always done it for them.  Could you imagine drafting a hitter who has never hit before?  How about an outfielder who has never caught a flyball?  It wouldn’t happen. 

Glad I’m not a catching coach!

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