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'Don't move the mitt,' baseball committee tells amateur catchers - Mainichi Daily New


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'Don't move the mitt,' baseball committee tells amateur catchers

Mainichi Daily News, Japan

According to Koji Aso, chairman of the committee, "strike maneuvering" among catchers is unique to Japanese baseball. Japanese umpires participating in the Olympics and other international competitions have received complaints from their non-Japanese ...

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If I can remember back that far...as a catcher I always"centered" my glove on the zone after making the catch. If it influenced the umpire to call more strikes, great, if not, oh well.

As an umpire, I'm calling the pitch where it crosses the plate, not where the catchers glove is. Where the catcher catches it is part of the evidence I use in making my decision. Have I never been influenced by a skilled catcher and his glove manipulations? I don't think so, but I guess it's possible.

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I agree that this not just a Japanese problem. If I see a young kid pulling pitches I will say something to his coach. I will explain it is obvious he is doing it and he will get caught at it more as he moves up and sees more trained umpires. It will result in him loosing pitches for his pitcher.

If a catcher is still doing it as he gets to 13 or above, I will say something to him. If he knows I am watching him and I know what he is doing then he will be likely to change.

Now are there catchers that can thumb low pitches or catch a borderline pitch right or left to fool you, sure and that means he is doing a good job. What we need to police are the guys pulling obvious pitches back into the zone. They make us look bad, as we are if we allow it, if we are calling strikes on a ball that he has pulled in.

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However, a good catcher can "manipulate" how and where he catches pitches to make them look better to the umpires. When I was catching I got very good at it. A slight turn of the glove or even receiving the pitch and pulling it towards your body (usually on a borderline low pitch) can deceive an umpire and get that extra strike when needed.

Now that said... knowing the tricks helps a lot in not falling for them.:DB)

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