Baseball Magazine

Loses Go Next to the Pitcher’s Name

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

If you are a fan of the film Bull Durham, you probably remember the scenes where the catcher, Crash Davis, tells the batter what pitch is coming.  The reason for telling the batter was to get back at the pitcher for shaking off his signs.  Clearly Crash Davis didn’t appreciate the rookie pitcher calling his own game.  This


Nuk: “He hit that like he knew what was coming.”
Crash: “He did.”

relationship between the catcher and pitcher in terms of who calls the game is an important one and can lead to some disagreements as the film clearly showed. 

In my career, I have been both the pitcher and catcher at different times (much more as a pitcher) so I’ve experienced this from both ends.  I understand the catcher’s point of view in that he probably plays every day and usually knows more about the opposing hitters.  A valid point that pitchers make is that they usually want to pitch to their strengths as opposed to just the batter’s weaknesses.  An example would be facing a hitter that isn’t a good curve ball hitter.  On the surface, the pitcher should throw curve balls.  But do you still throw them if the curve ball is a pitcher’s third or fourth best pitch?  Pitchers will normally say that if they are going to lose, they want to lose with their best stuff.

There are many variables that go into what the pitch selection will be.  Some of the variables will be thought of by the catcher and some will come from the pitcher.  Hopefully they are on the same page but occasionally they are not.  It’s now a matter of who gets the final say.  My answer is the pitcher for two reasons.

  1. I’d rather be 100% confident in throwing the pitch I want to throw as opposed to maybe 50% confidence in what the catcher wants me to throw.
  2. There is no such thing as a “wrong pitch to throw.”  Click HERE for a post I wrote about that.

Pitchers and catchers should communicate frequently to make sure that they are on the same page as much as possible.  Should a case arise where they are not … the pitcher has the final say.  At least in my opinion.

Crash Davis most certainly would disagree but until they start putting the W’s and the L’s next to catcher’s name, I’m throwing whatever I damn well please.

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