Catchers. There’s no other position in sports that requires the effort, physical workload, mental awareness and sheer guts that catchers bring to the park each day. I love my catchers to death and expect so much from them. A great block, a great frame or directing the defense, I find myself in awe at the responsibility and focus that catchers carry on their shoulders.
As a catcher, much will be asked of you. First off, you will have to carry more gear than everyone else! This in itself can present a small, but funny problem as I see some of my young catchers lugging around bags that they themselves could easily fit in. Second, catchers will be asked to catch in games, practices, bullpens, drills. The constant squatting around day in and day out will build your legs into strong treetrunks. You’ll be asked to be quick and light on your feet, so that you may keep your body alert and poised to make the strongest,
accurate throw you can, at ANY given moment. Remember, fielders get a few seconds to position themselves. You’ll be asked to remember ALL of the defensive signs and signals, PLUS the offensive signs, PLUS the pitchers signs you give to him, PLUS the pitching signs that coach gives to you. (Still here?)
You’ll seldom be remembered for a great game, whereas pitchers get all the credit for throwing a marvelous game…who do you think called that great one? Everyone one the ballfield and stands will want you to stand in front of the plate while some great behemoth attempts to slide into so hard that the small little baseball pops out of your tight, strong grip! (…not scared yet?)
At the end of the day, there’s no one on the field grittier and dirtier than the catcher. A feeling of true accomplishment, each catcher can remove his/her gear knowing that they put ALL of themselves into their jobs. Can you do this?
Baseball players coming from the catching position usually end up as some of the smartest players in the game. Many major league managers were former catchers, including some of the best teams in baseball: Torre, Girardi, Scioscia, Hurdle… all catchers.
Kudos to those of you who have chosen this great position. Give your coaches your best, and do all you can to learn to be a great catcher!