Tagged: Catchers

The Rise of the Backstop

What
is going to be the biggest storyline of 2011? 
For me, the story to watch in 2011 will be the rise of the
Backstop.  No…I’m not referencing the obstructed
view of Lorne Michaels’ seats behind the Yankees’ home plate.  I’m referencing the rise of the Catcher.

We
haven’t had a reason to buzz about the men behind the plate in years.  In the 70’s, we saw the tough as nails play
of Fisk, Munson and Bench.  Ray Fosse
sacrificed a chunk of his career to protect the dish in an All-Star Game (and
that was before it “count”).    These men
struck terror in your heart (unless you were Mickey Rivers) and no way in hell
were you going into Home with your cleats up (unless you were Pete Rose).

In
the 90s, you saw the rise of the hitting catcher.  Sure, Kenny Lofton could take second base
with ease now.  The ability to throw a
man out strangely didn’t seem so important anymore.  However, like what Ripken with the position
of Shortstop, men like Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez brought a new dynamic to
the position.  Your catcher might let a
runner get from first to third, but now he could slug you out of it in the next
inning.

In
the Teens, we now see the rise of a new
catcher.  It’s a catcher we’ve never seen
before…the intellectual catcher.  He’s
not physically intimidating like a Fisk or Munson.  In fact, he might look like the lost Jonas
Brother (I’m looking at you, Buster Posey). 
He’s not going to hit you 50 home runs either. He’s an anomaly.  He’s coming out of a college system where he
wasn’t taught to call a game.  However, by
the time he hits the majors, he’s calling them with accuracy and maturity.  He’s going to benefit you at the plate and
he’s going to bring you intangibles you never imagined.  He might look like he’s twelve, but he’ll
tame your most “head case” delicate souls…also known as your bullpen. (Yes,
that was a thinly veiled reference to Brian Wilson.) 

We
met Buster Posey in the fall of 2010.  In
a team filled with Cy Young Award Winners and “personalities,” it was the quiet
man behind the plate that became the face of the team.  And he’s not the only one.  Matt Weiters is the most exciting news to
come out of Buck Showalter’s Vanguard Orioles. 
Can you remember the last time you cared who was behind the dish for the
Birds?  I predict right now that from
Florida to Arizona to your Fantasy Baseball league, the word on the street is
going to be…Catcher.  Do you have
enough?  And can they keep pace?

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