There is no doubt that every position on the diamond is different and demanding in their own ways. But I think we can all agree that a baseball or softball catcher takes the cake on the toughest position on the diamond and here’s why.
It's Mentally Demanding
Not only is a catcher’s job physically demanding, it is mentally demanding as well.
As a baseball catcher, you must know each pitcher’s strength and weaknesses, as well as calling a game. A big part of the mental side of the game is calling pitches. What goes through the mind of a catcher before putting down a sign? Tons of things!
- What has this hitter done in previous at bats?
- What pitch has this hitter struggled to connect with?
- Where is he standing in the box?
- What is your pitcher’s best pitch today?
- Who’s on base?
- Who’s on deck?
After the pitch, the possibilities in just one play are numerous and a baseball catcher must prepare to handle each of them.
It's Physically Demanding
Just because you have gear on, doesn’t mean your completely protected from injury. As a catcher, you will take foul balls off every part of your body, batters will hit you on the back swing, wild pitches will find you where your gear isn’t. You’ll dive, leap, and collide with runners.
All in all, you will leave the game with the most bumps and bruises. But this is in your job description and you must wear every foul ball, collision, bump and bruise with honor.
You Have to Be Selfless
If you’re already a catcher, you know that it’s not about you. You touch the ball as much as a pitcher, but most of the time you’re barely noticed and that is okay! As a catcher, you have one primary responsibility, make the pitcher look good. In almost every instance of every game, the pitcher will get all the credit and that is something you must accept as a catcher.
It is very unfortunate that catchers are so often under-represented and underappreciated in baseball. The position requires high quotients of skill, exceptional amounts of toughness, practically endless stamina, and more patience than most players are even capable of. The next time you watch a game, watch that catcher: constantly responding to hard situations has made him tough and dependable.