A Special Bond

The other day while taking batting practice, I was shagging in the outfield and was discussing with one of our catchers about the importance of the pitcher/catcher relationship.  We talked about how “under the radar” and how little it is talked about in baseball, but at the same time, how this under-appreciated relationship can pretty much determine how well, or vice versa, a pitcher will throw.  Personally, I am a firm believer that a pitcher is, for the most part, only as good as their catcher.  The ability for a pitcher to trust in what pitch their catcher want them (the pitcher) to throw, is one of the most interesting as well as underrated aspects of all of baseball.  While the pitcher ultimately controls what pitch will be thrown, the catcher plays an enormously important part.  It plays out almost like if a pitcher were driving the car, but the catcher was in the passenger seat giving directions.  Both work hand in hand to reach the ultimate goal.  So while talking with my catcher, I asked him if he would like to be a guest blogger on “Kopper’s Kaos”.  So without futher adu, our catcher from the Palm Beach Cardinals, Nick Derba. 

 

Hello readers. Let me begin by commending Kopper on the excellent job he has done with this blog. I have been a pretty avid follower of it myself and I look forward to reading his entries. The relationship between pitchers and catchers is probably the closest working relationship in all of sports. There aren’t any other positions in all of sports that depend on each other more than that of the sacred battery. Without a strong performance from a pitcher a catcher is nothing. As a defensive catcher I take pride in great pitching perfomances because it is my job to help these guys get through games with their worst stuff. I say worst stuff because when a pitchers is on he will beat hitters the vast majority of the time. Our work together goes way beyond the game. My practice is his practice. Catchers are the guys taking their (pitchers)bullpens day in and day out.That is where I get to know the individual pitcher. Not only do we as catchers deal help out with the mechanics of the staff but we act as the on-field pitching staff psychologist. I am learning with the help of our pitching coach and legend, Dennis Martinez, how to push pitchers buttons in order to make them work better. All in all, a team is only as good as their pitching staff. There is a reason why the best hitters in baseball fail 7 out of 10 times. Thanks for your time. I hope to get another invitation to blog. If anybody has any questions for me I would be more than happy to come back on and respond. Happy reading.

 

Looking forward to hearing comments and I will be posting again soon.  Thanks. Kopper

 

11 Comments

I agree with you – a great catcher – who has the ability to call and manage a team – is a necessity for a team.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

It is a great idea to have both of you writing! Thank you for the insights and please continue to share details about the process with us. I only now found your blog, but I will be a faithful reader henceforth.

Questions: While I am certain that the ‘game within the game’ between batter and battery is not a static formula, are there general precepts that are followed in attempting to keep the batter off stride – such as pitch count, tendencies, score, game situation etc. – in a specific at bat, or does the situation more commonly defy a formulaic approach and rely more on experience and instinct? Does it vary widely with different batters?

Also, how much does the battery take into account the efforts of the base coach to help the batter?

Thank you for your time, and I hope to follow your successes within the Cardinals’ organization.

A life-long Cardinals fan,
RickMcQ in Houston

david,

great start on friday, keep it up big guy.

josh

David,
In what ways as Dennis helped you as a pitcher?

Dude, you were shagging in the OUTFIELD?! Right on!!

Signed,
the other kopper

Great game David!

RobertJ
http://superbaseball.blinkweb.com/

I’m desperate for a forum: does STL know how bad Tony LaRussa is?? He’s the worst game day mgr in baseball; his pitcher decisions are a disaster; he manages to failure, rotating pitchers in there until one of them fails. Why the heck did he take Wainwright out tonite??? Do the research: he’s a disaster, and costs his players big time. Let him go, see ya later. Hall of Fame my ***. Most wins? He’s old. Check out the losses.

First things first: A long time ago in a galaxy far away I was a pitcher. In high school. A junkballer, but Dan Quisenberry and Kent Tekulve made my junk look like professional stuff at the time–our other pitcher was 6’5″ and threw BBs at the plate. My fast (sic) ball clocked in at a dangerous 68 MPH. And I still had an ERA of 0.170. Why? My catcher was eidetic. Photographic memory. Shades of Bull Durham. I NEVER shook that man off. And I won. A lot. Okay, it was high school, but still. The analogy holds true. And yes, my dad was a semi-pro catcher in the dark ages for the Cardinals (actually the Busch team) so maybe I had a leg up on the process.
Secondly: I am SOOOO tired of the LaRussa bashing that passes for sport in St. Louis. Love him or hate him for not being whichever savior of baseball you think he ought to be. The man wins. Consistently. No, he’s not Whitey Herzog. No, he’s not Torre. No, he’s not Schoendienst. But you should really pay attention to where the Cardinals rank these days compared to the “good old days of (fill in the blank)”. Here’s the research, freshnewstuff: 3rd winningest manager ever. Period. Name me who can adequately replace the brain trust of LaRussa/Duncan/Moz. Go for it. I eagerly await your next informed syllable.

First things first: A long time ago in a galaxy far away I was a pitcher. In high school. A junkballer, but Dan Quisenberry and Kent Tekulve made my junk look like professional stuff at the time–our other pitcher was 6’5″ and threw BBs at the plate. My fast (sic) ball clocked in at a dangerous 68 MPH. And I still had an ERA of 0.170. Why? My catcher was eidetic. Photographic memory. Shades of Bull Durham. I NEVER shook that man off. And I won. A lot. Okay, it was high school, but still. The analogy holds true. And yes, my dad was a semi-pro catcher in the dark ages for the Cardinals (actually the Busch team) so maybe I had a leg up on the process.
Secondly: I am SOOOO tired of the LaRussa bashing that passes for sport in St. Louis. Love him or hate him for not being whichever savior of baseball you think he ought to be. The man wins. Consistently. No, he’s not Whitey Herzog. No, he’s not Torre. No, he’s not Schoendienst. But you should really pay attention to where the Cardinals rank these days compared to the “good old days of (fill in the blank)”. Here’s the research, freshnewstuff: 3rd winningest manager ever. Period. Name me who can adequately replace the brain trust of LaRussa/Duncan/Moz. Go for it. I eagerly await your next informed syllable.

First things first: A long time ago in a galaxy far away I was a pitcher. In high school. A junkballer, but Dan Quisenberry and Kent Tekulve made my junk look like professional stuff at the time–our other pitcher was 6’5″ and threw BBs at the plate. My fast (sic) ball clocked in at a dangerous 68 MPH. And I still had an ERA of 0.170. Why? My catcher was eidetic. Photographic memory. Shades of Bull Durham. I NEVER shook that man off. And I won. A lot. Okay, it was high school, but still. The analogy holds true. And yes, my dad was a semi-pro catcher in the dark ages for the Cardinals (actually the Busch team) so maybe I had a leg up on the process.
Secondly: I am SOOOO tired of the LaRussa bashing that passes for sport in St. Louis. Love him or hate him for not being whichever savior of baseball you think he ought to be. The man wins. Consistently. No, he’s not Whitey Herzog. No, he’s not Torre. No, he’s not Schoendienst. But you should really pay attention to where the Cardinals rank these days compared to the “good old days of (fill in the blank)”. Here’s the research, freshnewstuff: 3rd winningest manager ever. Period. Name me who can adequately replace the brain trust of LaRussa/Duncan/Moz. Go for it. I eagerly await your next informed syllable. If you hate LaRussa so much then move your sorry “fan” status to being a Cub follower.

I am really irked! I read that the Cardinals are now battling for a wildcard spot in the playoffs! Whose darned idea was it to say this? If we can’t win our division, we sure as heck won’t land the wildcard!
Injuries have hurt this year and we try to fill their positions with castoffs. Besides Pujois, Holliday, and Jones, we aren’t hitting our weights. On top of that, Holliday isn’t the clutch hitter that he was suppose to be.
Someone needs to light a firecracker under our butts, jump start the team, smile, and play up a storm. What hurts is the fact that Dusty Baker sounds like he has a crystal ball. He just made the Cardinal series what it was, then the Reds starting beating the heck out of everybody including the ones that we are suppose to beat but aren’t. We’re like two freight trains in the night going in a heckava hurry in two different directions!

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