Baseball is a very enjoyable game which attracts many fans owing to the fun and thrill that it generates. However, many fans who have never had the chance of playing the game may not well understand the risks, energy and tenacity associated with it although the game is essentially a team game, there are certain player positions that are more important than others.
One of these positions is the catcher’s position. Baseball is risky and hence the use of best catchers gear set is vital to the safety of the players. The catcher requires the most protective gear as he/she is the most active and important position player in the game. Important components of catcher gear include the following.
- a) Gloves.
This is an important tool which has developed much other the years. In early days only catchers wore gloves. Later in field players started wearing gloves. Catchers gloves are thick and mitten -like to provide a cushion from the impact of the ball.
The catchers’ mitts contain more padding than fielders’ gloves to reduce the impact of fastballs. This makes catchers gloves more rigid than fielders’ gloves.
- b) Mask.
In the early days, catchers played further away from the hitter as they didn’t wear masks. The introduction of the mask allowed them to players to play near the plate improving their effectiveness. Catchers’ masks comprise of one piece helmets similar to those worn by hockey goalkeepers.
The mask contains a mobile shell that can move as low as the catchers’ throat level to guard the throat. It has metal bars which protect the face.The sides of the shell are designed to protect the remaining part of the face. It is important that a catcher chooses a mask that fully covers the face for maximum safety.
- c) Chest Protector.
This is attire that is worn on the chest. It is padded to provide protection to the chest and the midsection. Some chest protectors are modified to cover the groin area.It is advisable that catchers wear a protective cup that further adds protection to the groin. A chest protector should be well strapped for maximum safety. However, it should be adjusted so that it is not so tight to hinder the catchers’ movements.
- d) Shin Guards.
A catcher does so many knee bends behind the plate during pitching. This subjects the knees to harsh conditions such as friction and thus the need to protection. The knee guards are similar to those worn by cricket players’ leg guards.
Shin guards are made of plastic to ensure that they are light. At the knee area, the shin guards are hinged to allow movement during bending. Good shin guards should fully cover the catchers’ knees, the calves and the area above the shoes.
The catcher importance as highlighted earlier should not be undermined. To support the difficult and tasking role that they partake in the game, it is important to give them maximum protection.
Well protected catchers will perform confidently and this will collectively contribute to a good team performance.