A catcher’s most useful tool is his glove. No position gets more use out of a mitt. If you were watching a movie about a young catcher learning his craft, an old sage might tell him “the glove should be an extension of the arm.” Given its importance, a glove should be inseparable from its catcher.
But that’s not always the case. During Tuesday’s Miami Marlins game, one of the team’s bullpen catchers was without his faithful glove. He didn’t think he needed it, as the game was just two outs away from being over. He was wrong.
On a 2-1 pitch, Jed Lowrie shot a grounder foul right at the on-field bullpen area in Oakland Coliseum. With the ball headed his way, the bullpen catcher had to think quickly. But if he was nervous to be without his glove, it didn’t show. He knew exactly what to do.
The catcher casually grabbed his cap, reached out and scooped the ball up with it. He then used the ball’s momentum to gently toss it to himself. It wasn’t a perfect transfer, as the ball hit another player sitting in the pen, but it was still pretty impressive.
After that, he just put his cap back on, placed the ball in the pouch in the front of his hoodie and continued watching the game. At no point did he show any emotion.
Only the announcers gave the moment the respect it deserved. After the play, they note that it could be “the highlight of the night.” Not only that, but one of the announcers notes the bullpen catcher was able to make the play despite a tough in-between hop.
None of this was easy, but you wouldn’t know that from watching the catcher. His stoic response was the best thing about the entire play. Well, that and the fact that he made it happen without a glove.
In our movie example from above, this bullpen catcher has surpassed even old sage levels of mastery. He’s reached a level where any item can be an extension of the arm. He’s bullpen Yoda, basically.
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