Catcher Meme #16
You Can Only Be Mad At Yourself
Last night while watching the Rangers vs. Athletics game. In the bottom of the ninth with a runner on 2B and a full count to Jed Lowrie, Rangers' closer Joe Nathan seemed to throw strike three for the first out of the inning. However, catcher A.J. Pierzynski did a horrible job keeping the pitch in the strikezone and Lowrie walked.
Now you can talk to me all you want about Nathan's sinker and how hard it is to catch, and that the ball crossed the plate as a strike, therefore it should be called one. However, it wasn't just that Pierzynski did such a bad job receiving the pitch, it's that he decided to attempt to "Frame" or pull the pitch back into the strikezone, and when the umpire refused to call it a strike, he stood up and got visibly angered at the call.
Catchers, number one, your job is not to make balls look like strikes. Your job is to keep strikes looking like strikes. Receive the pitch where it is thrown and stick it. Ball or strike. Movement after the ball hits your glove shows the umpire the pitch needed to be fixed. A strike doesn't need to be fixed. Your glove shouldn't move an inch after the ball hits it.
Number two, the last person on the field that you want to show your displeasure to is the umpire. It is one thing to protect your pitcher and ask the umpire politely where the ball missed so you have something to tell your teammate on the mound, but it's another thing to throw the call back in the face of the umpire. It won't earn you any points and can very often cost you future close pitches.