Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I'm a catcher, ma'am. It's what I do.

Catchers have a rough go of it. They get hit by foul tips. They get run over. They get jawed at by batters, umps, and sometimes even their own pitchers. They have to squat uncomfortably for an hour and a half every day. They take such punishment even though they are more often than not the smartest guy on their team. It's hard, often thankless work.

But sometimes they get the glory, like Max Ramirez did last night. You've probably seen the play already (if you haven't, it can be seen as the last play on the embedded highlight reel here), but here's a first hand account from ShysterBall's Texas Bureau Chief, Royce the Hack, who was live on the scene:

OK, the Rangers lose tonight in Arlington to the Mighty Angels, 9-6. The box score will reveal some ugly business from Louis Mendoza, including three home runs. Two of them were waaaay over 400 ft - including one from Guerrero that was into the upper deck - 450 ft. plus. Impressive offense, but butt ugly pitching. Mendoza was yanked before the fifth out, but it was about five pitches too late.

Anyway, what wasn't ugly was a double play by Rangers catcher Max Ramirez. After being mowed over by Jeff Mathis at the plate and knocked four feet cleanly on his ass, Max lays on his back for maybe one second. Then, you can literally see him raise his head, shake it off, then in a snap, he springs up on his knees and fires a rope to Ramon Vasquez at third to catch Casey Kotchman, who was trying to sieze the moment from second. Mendoza just gave up too much right out of the gate, but that one play was worth watching the game for. It was as good a defensive play as you'll ever see.
Thanks for the report, Royce. Keep this up and the news bureau will see that you get that transfer out of sweltering North Texas you've been bucking for.


Osmodious said...

I saw that on BT last night and was quite impressed...was trying to decide if he was really that shaken up, or if it was a ploy to get the guy to run to 3rd. Either way, brilliant play.

One day I'd love to see a list of all the little ploys that these guys use to try to fool opponents...like when Torii Hunter would occasionally pretend to lose sight of the ball against the Metrodome ceiling when there was a guy on 2nd, to try to fool him off the bag and double him up. Cool stuff, and I think there's a lot more of it than most fans realize (this is where quality commentators, like Jim Kaat, provide insight).

RoyceTheBaseballHack said...

Thanks for posting that brief, Shyster. It really was a cool thing to see. There is a possibility that some Cat & Mouse was at work there osmo, but he got hit pretty hard. If that were me on the receiving end of that hit, (having played catcher for years, I took a few of those...), I'd still be laying there asking for someone to just bring me a beer. However, it dawned on me that what likely got Ramirez up off of his back was Ron Washington or Art Howe yelling, "Third Base..Third Base!!" at him from the dugout while he was laying there. Just because he snapped to so quickly. It's possible he saw Kotchman moving from the corner of his eye and got up, but it's more likely Ron and/or Art were yelling at him. He was a lot closer to the dugout after he landed than he was before he got hit, so he had a better chance to hear them. Regardless, it was a great moment.