A catcher must be a head-in-the-game, communicatin’ Vintage Baseball Catcher Thou shalt not steal shirt son of a bitch. Catchers give signs behind the plate to the pitcher and sometimes other infielders, and they give signs in front of the plate to the whole team. Typically, the pitches and plays to call are signaled to the catcher from the bench, but some savvy catchers may be allowed to call some aspects or even all of the game on their own. A catcher will typically have signals for where to locate the pitch, such as, put it in the dirt, off-the-plate, up or down a zone, inside, climb the ladder, keep it down, chin music, and so on. Perhaps the single most important signal, usually rising from his crouch or dropping his mitt, means step off. Perhaps the pitcher took the mound in a windup stance with a runner on or the catcher simply wants to give a runner time to chill and settle down. Also, standards are intentional walk and pitchout. Defensive signs to the pitcher can suggest paying attention to a given runner, ask for multiple lookovers or no lookovers, initiate various pickoff moves, and so on.
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A catcher just kind of eventually realizes that the laws of physics Vintage Baseball Catcher Thou shalt not steal shirt change and a ball is going to follow the same path whether the batter swings and misses or keeps the bat on their shoulder. Of course, foul tips can hurt like hell. This is a good question because it shines a light on just how dangerous the game of baseball can be. We’re talking about a ball being thrown hard enough to crack a skull, take out an eye and end a career while another man wields and swings away at that ball with a piece of wood that would make a Neanderthal proud. And a catcher, even with the protection they wear, still takes a severe physical pounding over 10 or 12 years and 120–130 games per year.
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