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Published On: June 30th, 2012

by Peter Geppert

The catcher position is often compared to other iconic positions in sports, combining the leadership of the quarterback position in football with the direction and pacing that point guards in basketball bring to the game.

“Catchers are the managers of the game on the field, they are by far the most important position on a baseball team,” Mallards pitching coach Keith Ritsche said. “If you aren’t solid behind the plate then it will be a long night for the rest of the team.”

Because of the preparation that catchers go through on a daily basis during the season to get ready for opponents, it’s no wonder that many go on to have coaching careers. Of the 30 active managers in the major leagues, nine were former catchers.

“It’s not really surprising to me to see that many catchers go on to be coaches at some level,” Mallards hitting coach and former catcher Jordan Comadena said. “Catchers are constantly working with coaches and engaged in dialogue with pitchers.”

What makes a good catcher can sometimes be unclear. There is no objective statistic that shows how skilled a catcher really is at managing a game from behind the plate. So how do you quantify the unquantifiable?

“Often times you’ll hear scouts say, ‘he has good actions’, which is another way of saying he has good intangibles,” Comadena added. “With bad catchers you’ll see pitchers shake off their signs a lot and you’ll also see more mound visits.”

Mallards utility man Mike Reuvekamp (California) has impressed Mallards coaches by showing some ofReuvekamp with ball- resized those “actions” already this season. In the 10 games that Reuvekamp has caught this year the Mallards are 7-3 and Mallards pitchers are carrying a 3.90 ERA, 0.28 points lower then the overall 4.18 pitching staff ERA.

“It’s really fun to watch Reuvekamp work from behind the plate,” Comadena added. “The way that he communicates, always knows the situation, and instills confidence in our pitchers shows that he knows how to play the position the right way.”

So the next time Mallards fans see a well executed defensive play or another stellar performance from the pitching staff, just remember that it all starts from behind the plate.

The 2012 season is upon us! Single-game tickets are on-sale for all Mallards home games!

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The Madison Mallards are part of the 16-team Northwoods League.  The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate League in North America.

 

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