Catcher Tests Theory: Do Not Move the Mitt! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Catcher Tests Theory: Do Not Move the Mitt!

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Catcher debate tends to get heated with divided opinions even among fans.

The photo shows the famous catcher Katsuya Nomura when he was a player-manager (1977). He was active for many years with his brilliant mind and theories. After retiring from active baseball, he trained Atsuya Furuta as a manager and revolutionized the entire baseball world with ID baseball (Photo: Afro)

In recent years, the baseball scene has seen the emergence of new technologies and theories every day thanks to improvements in various data collection techniques. The latest theories and indicators from Major League Baseball (MLB) in the U.S. and Japan’s own technical theories are appearing one after another, and not only managers and players are adopting them, but also fans are enjoying watching games and debating with other fans while referring to new playing styles and indicators derived from these theories. The debate is becoming more and more common.

One area of debate that has become particularly heated is the “catcher’s theory. This position requires a lot of work, including pitch distribution, leading, and handling pitches and batted balls, and it is difficult to evaluate the defense of the catcher.

On the other hand, the catcher is a highly specialized position in baseball, which means that there are only a few people who can teach it, and especially among amateurs, it is a position where incorrect teachings and “common sense” can easily arise. For this reason, there are many plays that fans are divided into two camps, those who defend them and those who deny them. What is true and what is false?

Tairiku Midorikawa, who teaches a wide range of players from elementary school to university while learning the latest theories as an active player, explains the “mistaken catcher theory” that he has experienced through his own playing, coaching, and watching games. He explained to us his “mistaken catcher’s theory,” which he has learned through his own playing, coaching and watching games.

Is it true that you should never move the mitt?

Tairiku Midorikawa. When he was in high school, he learned the latest techniques and theories of framing from a coach in the U.S., which opened his eyes to the catcher’s game. Currently, he plays on the “qoonins” baseball team and coaches at baseball schools.

When the pitcher throws, the catcher usually lowers his mitt and begins the preliminary action, but some catchers do not move their mitt until the ball is caught.

However, there are some catchers who do not move their mitt until they catch the ball (i.e., they keep the surface of the mitt visible to the pitcher). What are the advantages and disadvantages of these different styles?

The catcher’s style of keeping the ball in front of the pitcher’s face is advantageous to the pitcher because he can keep showing the pitcher his “target,” which makes it easier for the pitcher to throw the ball. However, this is the only advantage. On the contrary, there are many disadvantages.

If the ball does not come to the pitcher’s position, especially a breaking ball, the pitcher will have to catch the ball as if he is chasing it. If you chase the ball and catch it, your mitt will drift outward or touch the ground. Then, even if the pitch has passed through the strike zone, if the catching mitt is out of the strike zone, it is often judged as a ball in our experience.”

Even if the pitch passes through the strike zone, if the mitt drifts, it may be judged as a ball. If possible, you want to make a preliminary move and put the mitt in the path of the ball first.

According to Midorikawa, there is not much merit in this stance of continuing to show the catching surface, which has many advocates. On the other hand, he says there are many advantages to lowering the mitt and making a preliminary move.

It allows the player to relax when catching the ball, and it makes it easier to time the pitch. For breaking pitches, you can anticipate the trajectory of the ball and smoothly insert your mitt in relation to the trajectory of the ball. Another advantage is that no matter how fast the ball is, the pitch will drop down, so by making a preliminary move, you can smoothly insert a low pitch into its trajectory.

You should discuss with the pitcher whether or not to lower the mitt, and if the pitcher feels that it is easier to throw the ball if you continue to show the catching surface, you should not move the mitt. On the other hand, if the pitcher doesn’t seem to mind either way, then it is better to lower the mitt in a preliminary move.”

Furthermore, the preliminary action of lowering the mitt is also important for framing. Framing is a catching technique that has been adopted by MLB, Japanese professional baseball, and, in recent years, amateur baseball such as high school baseball.

While it is an essential technique for today’s catchers, it has also been criticized by some as “mitt shifting” or “misleading the umpire to get a strike.

The mitt is not allowed to be defeated by the pitch, and it is a technique to catch the ball along the path of the pitch so that the mitt is not swept away. This makes it easier for pitches that are on the verge of being strikes or balls to become strikes, resulting in more strikes and affecting the game, according to various MLB data. data shows that this can increase the number of strikes and affect the game.

That’s why MLB catchers have started to adopt framing. In Japan, too, the value of framing has been recognized, so active players have adopted it.

However, even though many catchers have adopted framing, some fans argue that it is unnecessary, and above all, it has a strong image of “deceiving the umpire.

Many people say, ‘You can’t cheat the umpires by framing a ball as a strike. A ball is a ball. But it is the umpire, not the catcher, who decides whether a pitch is a strike or a ball.

Can the catcher give up on a pitch that is just outside the strike zone because he judges it to be a ball? The catcher is there to get as many strikes as possible for the pitcher and for the team. The catcher must play for the pitcher, for the team, and to get as many strikes as possible.

Some reject framing with the argument that one should not deceive the umpire, while many others argue that the umpire does not look at the position of the mitt when catching the ball in the first place, since he judges a strike or a ball when it passes the base.

I feel that it is wrong to say that the umpire does not watch the catch. For example, even when an opposite-field ball comes in and appears to pass through the strike zone, if the catcher’s mitt drifts or fails to catch the ball, it is often judged as a ball. Essentially, if the ball passes through the strike zone, it should be a strike even if it is not caught.

However, in many cases, the ball is ruled a ball because it is not caught. This means that the umpire is also referring to the catch of the ball. Some umpires say that they do not look at the mitt, and they sometimes say, ‘The catcher should catch the ball in a way that is easy for the umpire to see. From the catcher’s point of view, it would be like, “What⁉ Then, you are looking at the catch, too, aren’t you? I guess so.

If the catcher decides that the pitch is a ball and catches it just in time, it is very helpful for the umpire. Because the catcher is telling the umpire that the pitch is a ball. The catcher is required to get as many strikes as possible for the pitcher and the team. Framing a good catch to do that is to build up a steady stream of strikes, regardless of the score difference, the development of the game, or the count.

From my point of view, I get the impression that the umpire is more deceived if you ‘only stop the mitt when you really want a strike and only when you have a chance to get one.

The reason he is down on one knee is not because he is “taking it easy”!

Kenji Jojima. Kenji Jojima became the first Japanese player to play catcher in the MLB. He showed his success by making the most of his strong shoulders and strong batting ability. Photo shows Kenji Jojima during spring training camp at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona on March 23, 2006 (Photo: AFLO)

There are various opinions regarding the posture of the catcher as well as the movement of the mitt when it comes to catching the ball.

One of them is to take a stance with one knee on the ground. There are two types of catchers: those who hold the ball in a crouching position without kneeling, and those who hold the ball with one knee down.

The latter is seen by some as “taking it easy,” as in the catcher’s stance: “Kneeling on one knee is taking it easy. Especially when there is a runner in the lineup, you should lift your hips up without kneeling. In my opinion, it is OK to hold the position with one knee on the ground. In my opinion, it is OK to hold the position with one knee on the ground. In the first place, it is not easy to kneel if you are properly poised.

I also believe that many catchers have a style of kneeling where they kneel on one knee when there is no runner on the ground and do not kneel on one knee when there is a runner on the ground. The idea is that it is easier to deal with one-bounce pitches and stolen bases if you are not kneeling. However, I believe that this is due in large part to the fact that they have only practiced throwing to second base from a stance in which they do not kneel on one knee.

If you can send the ball to second base or check first base while kneeling on one knee, you can do it while kneeling. How many catchers have practiced that? If you say that you do it unconditionally because you have always done it this way, you have too little freedom. Some people may find it easier to block with one knee down. It is an important practice to explore all possibilities, not just not kneeling because there is a runner, but to explore all possibilities, including a shape that is easy for you to play.

Also, and this is also a framing perspective, framing is all about catching low, so you have to keep your stance low. In this case, you can hold yourself lower by kneeling on one knee. Since the importance of this has been proven, MLB I have the impression that there are many catchers in MLB who kneel on one knee to catch pitches and runners. I hope that Japanese players will practice and challenge themselves in various ways, rather than giving up the idea that there is a difference in physical ability.

Most right-handed catchers kneel on their left knee, but in MLB, some catchers kneel on their right knee. This way, it has a positive effect on framing to first base and blocking to third base.

Do you always stop a one-bounce pitch with your body?

One of the most important jobs of the catcher is to block a one-bounce pitch from being thrown backwards. Most catchers spend a lot of time practicing this blocking. Stopping one-bounces with your body should be very important in preventing runs.

Of course, blocking for one bounce is important. However, it is also true that many players and coaches misunderstand the meaning of stopping with the body. In the past, we have been too thorough in stopping with the body, and so stopping with the body itself has often become an appealing point of view. The purpose of blocking is to prevent runners from reaching base, and blocking is the means to that end, but some players are blocking for practice or to satisfy the coach.

Blocking for the sake of practice, or blocking to satisfy the coach, is a common practice among players.

For example, if you block with a runner on first base, you have a good chance of preventing the base runner from advancing, but you have less chance of getting the out. So, if you catch a one-bounce ball with only your mitt, you have a better chance of dealing with a stolen base, and you also have a better chance of getting the out on a runner who jumps out of the way on the throw to first base. The reason we try to stop everything with our bodies is because that has always been considered a good idea.

Midorikawa says that even if a runner is on base, he often catches one-bounce pitches with just his mitt. Because you can move to throwing immediately after catching the pitch, it is easier to deal with stolen bases and runners who have jumped out of the way.

Some people think that blocking is more effective than handling in stopping one-bounce pitches, but that is because they practice blocking far more than handling. If you practice handling as much as you do, you will be able to handle one bounce with the same accuracy. This is easier to understand if you consider the example of an infielder.

A decade ago, if an infielder caught a strong bouncing ball with both hands and stopped it with his body, he was considered to be safe. On the other hand, if a player tried to catch a difficult ball with one hand and was safe, he would be told, “Don’t play so lightly! I was scolded.

However, there are cases where you can get an out as a result of playing with one hand. If there is a possibility of getting an out with the same ball, it is natural to “play” with the other hand. In recent years, even amateurs have come to appreciate the play of an infielder who handles a ball at the last possible moment with a reverse single or barehanded . Yet, I feel that catchers are still often offended by the game .

Because of this situation, most of the practice is blocking against one-bounce pitches, and most catchers do not get to practice handling them with their handling. Handling skills are just as important for a catcher as blocking. I teach the children to practice both blocking and handling well.

Mr. Midorikawa is also an active catcher who plays on a softball club team. In addition to coaching, there is something he feels particularly strongly about these days in his own game.

When I play catcher, I feel that I don’t have as many chances to show off as a pitcher or fielder (laughs). (Laughs.) I feel that this is mostly due to the lack of freedom.

When the catcher throws to first base or second base, people say, ‘The catcher wants to throw! He wants to show off! But it’s okay to show off even if you are throwing for an out! To get one out, one strike, it’s okay to lower your mitt against the pitch before you catch it, to get down on one knee, right or left, to handle one bounce with your handling, or to throw a check.

It is important to practice by exploring various possibilities, without being bound by the idea that “this is what a catcher is supposed to do. Catchers should be more free!

The catcher’s theory has been evolving, albeit gradually, with the rethinking of leading and pitch distribution in the past, and the introduction of framing in recent years.

The catcher should have more freedom too! As more coaches and players challenge new theories and different styles, it is only a matter of time before we see catchers who play in ways we have never seen before. If that happens, the debate is likely to become increasingly heated, but that is part of the thrill of baseball. From now on, catchers may be in a position to lead the baseball conversation.

  • Reporting and writing Diceke Takahashi Photography Kazuyuki Sugiyama Photography cooperation American Stadium

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