I wish I loved every sport as much as I love baseball. There is something quintessentially clean and perfect about the game that speaks to me like no other.
The line of the bases, the line up of the hitters. The angle of the bat to the ball. Even the dust as it flies off a glove on a hot day thrills me.
It is a game of relationships. Infield to outfield, pitcher to batter, first to second to third, to home.
The ball thrown to second with a quick turn to first, the grace in the dance of turning a double play.
The centerfielder hitting his cutoff to make the relay home.
My favorite relationship is that of catcher to each player in the field.
The catcher owns the game.
He has to know what is happening all the time. He knows the count, the runners on, where to throw in relationship to where the ball is hit.
The catcher has to know when to gun down a runner and when to eat it and get him on the next play.
He must know his pitcher. He must know his strengths and weaknesses and the strengths and weaknesses of each batter that steps into the box.
The catcher has to be lightening quick.
The catcher must be wise.
He must be a leader.
He must be trustworthy and trust the team of brothers whose jersey he shares.
They function as one, the team, every player as important as the other. Each has a job to do. The catcher crouches at the helm, calling pitches, directing the show.