Playing Catch and the ‘Rhythm of the Universe’

From SABR member David Laurila at on August 31:

A great question was posed to me at last year’s SABR convention. It came from renowned baseball historian John Thorn, and it was as profound as it was simple. It was a baseball question, yet it transcended the game itself.

Why is it so much fun to play catch?

I recently revisited John’s question — his philosophical musing on the simple act of tossing a baseball back and forth — and decided to ask some of baseball’s most-contemplative minds for their opinions. Here’s what they said.


Justin Masterson [Cleveland Indians]: “It’s like a connection, a one-on-one connection, like a conversation you’re having with somebody. You’re not playing fetch, you’re playing catch. There is an intimacy there. That sounds weird, because you’re playing catch with your teammates, but each time, you’re trying to hit him in the chest.

“As a pitcher, the time you’re probably most relaxed is when you’re playing catch. You’re not really thinking about anything, you’re just playing catch, nice and easy, throwing the ball back and forth, seeing how far it goes and whatever happens, happens. You can also joke around. Sometimes I’ll bust out a sinker. My throwing partner is Josh Tomlin, and all of a sudden he’ll be like, ‘Aagghh!’

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Originally published: August 31, 2011. Last Updated: August 31, 2011.