|Do pitchers and catchers get along?|
Page 2 staff
Pitchers and catchers, catchers and pitchers. They are different species, but do they thrive together like the cape buffalo and the ox pecker, or do they fight like cats and dogs?
Here are the many-splendored answers, straight from the horses' mouths:
Sometimes they get along
-- pitcher Waite Hoyt
"When a catcher signals exactly what a pitcher is thinking throughout a ballgame -- that's exact communication, that's beautiful."
"Funny, before I'd even look at him, I had in mind what I was going to pitch, and I'd look up and there'd be Mickey's signal, just what I was thinking. Like he was reading my mind."
"When (he) fails, you fail with him. Sometimes there's no words. The best thing to do is sit next him after the inning is over. Say nothing. Just agonize with him."
"Pitching is a lonely business. When John is catching, I have the feeling that I have somebody on my side. ... John and I have been together for so long and can fall into such a complete rapport that (it's) as if there were only one mind involved."
"Now, Javy and I are to the point that we talk only briefly before the game I'm going to pitch. That talk can be as short as the walk from the bullpen to the dugout after warming up. And, really, what we're talking about is what I want to do with this guy or maybe go against the book a little on that guy. That final talk with the catcher all boils down to my philosophy on pitching. It's up to the catcher to know what I do well and be in a position to call the game I want to pitch."
"When I went over to Oakland in '73, Catfish Hunter never shook me off. I asked him why and he told me, 'It's your job to know the hitters.' "
"When Steve and I die, we're going to be buried 60 feet, 6 inches apart."
Sometimes they don't
-- pitcher Warren Spahn
"Keep your ass away from me while I'm working!"
"He'll come out on the mound and treat me like a 2-year old, but so help me, I like it."
"All pitchers are liars and crybabies."
"He's so nearsighted he hardly can see a sign and even if he does, he's likely to forget it."
"Gossage was this easygoing guy until the eighth inning. Then you'd see this metamorphosis occur. All of a sudden he looked like a wild man. I remember the first time I caught him he'd gotten behind on the hitter and there was a runner on first, so I step out in front of the plate to say something and he yells, 'Get your ass back there and catch.' Finally I go back, Goose throws three straight strikes and we're out of the inning."
"He pitches better when he's mad, so I try to make him that way."
"When I was catching Kevin Brown with the Marlins in '97, sometimes he would drop his arm angle down to throw a cut fastball. I would know the cutter was coming, but had no idea he was going to drop down. It would shock me for a second. I would freeze. I didn't know what that pitch was going to do. I would go to him and say, 'Man, you've got to let me know you're going to do that,' and he'd agree. But sometimes pitchers just do
things out there."
"Gimme the g--d--- ball, and get the hell out of here!"
"I remember one time going out to the mound to talk with Bob Gibson. He told me to get back behind the batter, that the only thing I knew about pitching was it was hard to hit."
Sometimes it just gets ugly
"My catcher showed up and he must have been Old Man Moses. He was so old he didn't have to crouch."
And sometimes they never get the chance
"Closer Look" will be a regular Page 2 feature, exploring a hot sports topic in greater detail.