This article may contain affiliate links. For details, visit our Affiliate Disclosure page.
Can catchers talk to batters? This has been one major question that has trailed the baseball game all of its existence. For many, the position of the batter is central to their team and their concentration is a huge part of scoring points or losing them. So, when a catcher whose aim is to ensure that the batter’s concentration is affected begins to use this advantage, it might seem like an unfair advantage. For some baseball fans, the fact that this even happens seems like an unfair advantage. However, in this article, we explore some interesting stories of conversations recorded between catchers and batters during a game.
Short Stories About What Catchers Say to Batters
From hilarious banter to full-on exchanges, this article runs through some of the surprising exchanges between catchers and batters in different games. The stories recorded include;
- Nolan Ryan records Pete’s Outburst
- Hank Aaron and Yogi
- John Streams Could Never Shut Up
- Gary Carter and Tony Gwynn
- Roy and Willie
- Yogi and his jokes
Nolan Ryan records Pete Rose’s Outburst:
For Pete Rose, one weakness identified by his opponents was his dislike for knowing beforehand where a ball might sail towards. For Pete, the action and enjoyment of the game were in its unpredictability, but when opponents discovered this distaste, most exploited it.
On one such game, legendary pitcher, Nolan Ryan records an outburst by Pete during a game where a catcher kept making predictions of the ball’s direction. This is one of the stories pointed out the fact that communication is allowed by catchers and batters.
John Streams Could Never Shut Up
One fun memory was posted by Joe Morgan about John Streams, Joe wrote that John would never stop chatting and talking throughout a pitch.
“He always had something to say about my small feet, like ‘here comes the guy with the little bitty feet.”
Interestingly, the same could be said for most of John’s co-players; Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Munson, etc. All were known to be noisy players who wouldn’t stop talking.
Hal McRae also made a similar recall about Thurmon Munson, and how the player would complain unendingly about things like the heat, his clothes, his feelings, etc. Hal would always ask the umpire to shut him up, sometimes, that worked.
Gary Carter and Tony Gwynn
Gary is one player known to consistently talk to batters. He never used harsh words or made his conversations offensive. Instead, he used intentional and measured tones to attempt to distract the player in the batting arena. One popular example of this activity was recorded during the match with Tony Gwynn’s team. His continued interruption led to two strikes and a complaint to the umpire.
Tony stated that at the start of the match, Gary quietly mentioned to him what direction to anticipate the coming ball. He would say, “here comes a fastball, inner half,” but because Tony didn’t believe him, it led to strike one.
On the next pitch, Gary again mentioned, “… We are going to throw you a backdoor slider, stay on it to hit it,” and again, Tony’s scepticism led to another strike. On both occasions, Tony complained to the umpire and both because no rule was laid against any such interactions, nothing could be done.
Roy Campanella and Willie Mays
The case of Roy and Willie was more cordial than it is a case of players trying to throw one another off course. Roy was more of a friendly person and engaged Willie in cordial questions and answers. Both players enjoyed the back and forth between each other and this might have gone undocumented if not that Roy had included in his biography.
Although Roy intended to distract Willie, his approach was very subtle and would go on for a while until Willie caught on and decided to no longer respond to Roy’s questions.
Yogi and His Jokes
Yogi is known for his talkative nature. He always had something to say. In one example, Ryne Duren, the intimidating fastball-throwing legend was on his knee fixing a hole in the mound. Ryne wore glasses and had a reputation for his poor eyesight. A rookie batter walked into the box and asked Yogi what Ryne was up to, Yogi’s response was; “He is trying to find the rubber,” an obvious joke, yet powerful enough to intimidate the rookie who would be worried about a pitcher who couldn’t even see what’s in front of him.
There are tons of similar stories, some funny, others not so much, of catchers saying different things to batters during a game.
Are there rules Similar to the Conversation Interference Between Catchers and Batters That Are Prohibited?
An innocent exchange between catchers and batters has no prohibition, there are other rules similar to this that are frowned upon in a game of baseball. Some of them include;
This happens when a catcher physically attempts to interact or interfere with a barter. This can be by stretching an arm to touch the swing or bat, stretching their glove far into the strike zone, making other types of contact with the bat, etc.
This is usually referred to as unsportsmanlike. It occurs in cases of the use of foul language, discriminatory and derogatory terms, etc.
This is any conversation outside the pitch before a game commences. Players are restricted from having associations outside the sporting competition. This conduct can earn punishments such as; a fine from the player’s team, etc.
This trick by catchers to distract batters has been on since the nineties when Connie Mack would be known to notoriously try and distract other players. Several decades after, the likes of Yogi Berra and Gary Carter have begun to walk the path. Although the game has no outright rule against conversations like these, it is clear that the tactics can be annoying sometimes and at best, distracting.
However, not to be confused with fraternization. The latter involves pre-game association outside the sporting event and interactions that have nothing to do with the game being played. Fraternization is strictly prohibited in baseball, however, talking to distract an opponent or having mere conversations, is not.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do catchers wear speakers?
Yes, catchers usually have audio devices in their helmet that enables them to receive information such as the type of ball being served and other things.
- What kind of gloves are permitted for catchers in a game of baseball?
A catcher’s mitt. This is necessary for the protection of the hand. Outside these gloves, they are not permitted to wear any other type.