Via the Journal Sentinel –
In his book “Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game is Really Played,” Jason Kendall provides an insider’s view of baseball on the major-league level.
Kendall spent two of his 15 seasons in the majors with the Brewers (2008-’09).
In the course of explaining in detail various aspects of the game, Kendall mentions a few of his Brewers teammates.
In a section about outfield signs, Kendall says outfielder Mike Cameron wanted to get pitch signals from the catcher, not an infielder, so the two worked up a sign system.
“I’d signal him from home plate when a slider was on its way,” Kendall writes.
“In my opinion, guys like Mike Cameron made playing the outfield a work of art,” Kendall says. “He’d have two steps in the right direction before the ball was even hit. Same thing with Brian Giles or Mark Kotsay: they’d make catches that were only possible because of the jumps they got on the ball.”
When discussing a pitcher’s defensive responsibilities, Kendall mentions CC Sabathia, a battery mate in 2008.
A pitcher has to cover first on balls hit to the right side of the infield.
“If the pitcher waits to see if he’s needed, he’ll be late covering the bag,” Kendall writes. “The catcher yells, ‘Get over!’ to remind the pitcher to quit daydreaming and cover first. CC Sabathia asked me to remind him to get over. CC’s the greatest guy in the world – one of the best pitchers ever – but I’ve got too much on my plate to have to remind him to get over to first base. Most catchers do it, but here’s my theory: You’re in the big leagues – you need someone to tell you to do you job?”
Kendall cites Greg Maddux as a pitcher who was special because even after giving full effort and attention to a pitch, he did not forget to perform all of his defensive tasks.
Reading this, it does seem that Sabathia is slow to cover sometimes, no?