Originally Posted by 15fan
Framing the pitch is the chest out / arms out / smile at the end of your gymnastics routine that sells the fact that you really did stick the final landing. In no way, shape or form is it the most important thing he does, though.
The catcher needs to know the pitcher, know each hitter, and know the situation. What pitch is working today? Is the pitcher tiring & thus altering his mechanics? Is he falling into a predictable pattern? How is his command? How much time needs to be bought to get the next guy warm in the pen? Does it matter which part of the infield we try to get the inning-ending DP ground ball hit to, or do we need the ground ball to a specific part of the IF because one of the guys has a bum elbow or ankle and can't turn a DP quite as quickly? Can the batter hit a breaking ball with authority? Is the opposing manager likely to have a hit & run or a sacrifice play on for the next pitch? The list goes on and on and on.
The catcher putting his fingers down to call each pitch is without a doubt the most important part of what he does. It's probably the most important thing that happens on the field period.
No doubt that calling a game has a huge impact, but if a catcher isn't good at it, those things can be signed in from he bench. It happens a lot. I agree that I'd rather have a good catcher who can do that, but a team can get by at the position by giving him lots of help from the staff. I agree that those calls probably have a bigger impact, but it can still be done even if the catcher can't do it very well himself. The pitcher himself actually makes the final decision.
The catcher is the only one who can catch the ball and if he can't do that, there really isn't a way to help him. It isn't so much about stealing strikes as it is not giving them away. Guys like Larue and Ross who aren't real smooth back there who swat at the ball to knock it down because they don't catch it well, cause a lot of close pitches to get called balls IMO.
I agree with you about calling a game having a huge impact, but for a position called "Catcher" seems to me that catching the ball is job 1. I might giive you the nod on the other stuff. A catcher needs to know the situation and the status of his pitcher.