Epstein: The risk of catching

From Daniel R. Epstein at Baseball Prospectus on March 4, 2020:

I fear I may have done something terrible. I have potentially endangered the well-being of two children.

In my day job, I am a third, fourth, and fifth grade special education literacy teacher. During the 2018-19 school year, I had nine students in my class. When spring came around, only two of them signed up for Little League. Improbably, both primarily played catcher, which I was delighted to discover.

Whenever I could spare a few minutes of instructional time, our lessons devolved into “catcher class.” We discussed the finer points of pitch framing in lieu of main ideas and supporting details. I taught them more about pop times than prepositions. While this won’t win me any “Teacher of the Year” laurels, I was proud to encourage their interest in catching. “Keep playing catcher as long as you can,” I frequently told them. “It’s always hard to find a good one.”

But why?

What makes catchers so hard to come by? It’s a grueling position, destined to sap the strength and energy of all who attempt it long enough. The constant straining of sinew warps their knees. No amount of padding can protect them from all the smarting and bruising of foul tips. Even if all goes according to plan on any given pitch, they’re still required to stop a projectile hurled as hard as possible from just 60 feet away, then repeat the process roughly 150 times each day.

Read the full article here: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/57463/catcher-risk-injury/

Originally published: March 4, 2020. Last Updated: March 4, 2020.