There has been a lot of discussion at the Little League World Series about what a great job the catchers are doing framing the ball. What disturbs me the most is that David Ross has signed up with this foolishness, seeing he was a major league catcher. The more these guys talk the more I’m convinced they need to get behind the plate and see what’s going on. Because every time they open their mouths, I questions whether they ever played the game.
As an umpire I knew what I was looking for and, trust me, it wasn’t where the catcher’s glove was in relationship to the pitch, it was where the ball crossed the plate in relationship to the batter. That’s it. Nothing more. However, if a pitcher’s game is on and he was painting the corners, the letters and the knees, believe me, he will get the call unless the catcher decides to frame the pitch.
So, what exactly is framing the pitch? Simple, the catcher believes the pitch was a bit low or just off the plate, they will jerk the glove to a position where it appears the ball had crossed the plate in the strike zone. That is framing and trust me, umpires know exactly what the catcher is trying to do. And it doesn’t work.
I had many catchers try that trick and not get the call. They would start grumbling and softly start complaining. My reply was simple. “If you wouldn’t have moved your glove, you might have gotten the call.” They would shake their head not believing what I’d just told them. From that point on, guess what they didn’t do? That’s right. If the pitch was close, they held the glove still making sure I got a good look at where the ball was and nine times out of ten, if the pitcher was on, he got that call.
My point is this guys and gals, the minute you move your glove and try to frame the pitch, it’s going to be a ball. Don’t believe me, give it a try and see what happens.