There's huge interest these days in measuring a catcher's framing skills. The guys down the hall in analytics love it. So many cameras and so much data these days that you can quite literally quantify nearly every action on a baseball diamond. And for so many reasons, focus and attention has made its way behind home plate to determine which catchers are most proficient in "stealing" strikes via receiving skills.
Pretty fascinating stuff if you have the time and inclination to dig. It's a good way to find undervalued guys like Seby Zavala and Brian Serven.
But there's another metric that's far less qualified and we'll call it Gamesmanship. Soliciting a hearty laugh from both home plate and field umpire before a game is a perfect example like the youngster at the top of this blog. To me that kinda shit is worth so much more over 9 innings than a strong wrist and world class reflexes. Being able to get on the right side of the egomaniacs. Not all umpires. But a lot of them want love and attention and control of the game. A warm smile and some light hearted banter goes a long way in that front.
Is it a lost art? It's hard to say because I don't spend a lot of time behind the plate. But I do know that people love talking about how catchers have all the intangibles. By far and away the position in baseball that's most connected to Leadership & Being A Field General - and rightfully so. But don't think that's limited to being some hard ass lunatic or brilliant pitch caller gifted with foresight. A lot of times it's just about making those around you feel comfortable and in control, which is different for each pitcher.
We'll talk more on Thursday about these kind of relationships on Starting 9. We've been really diving into pitcher mindset lately and it's a natural extension to give some love to catchers that keep the game loose and easy. Obviously David Ross comes to mind but who are some of the others? Leave a comment below and I'll power rank the Catchers With Camaraderie.
In the meantime, today's show is a solid roundup as we come out of the Dog Days of August. The playoff picture is becoming more clear each day and we're almost there. Good time to get caught up:
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