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Reverse framing

Apr 28, 2014
1,193
63
That's a weird subject but I wanted to ask the catching gurus a question. DD is on an new team and one of the catchers is so quick to pull the ball in and to her hand to throw a runner back to first or third that she eliminates the chance for frame. This weekend 3-4 times one of our catchers pulled balls off the "black", before the ump even called ball or strike, and tried to force a runner back to a base.
This is new to me. Last 5 years the catcher would frame the pitch for a split second then look a runner back. It's almost like the catcher decides it's a ball then pulls it off the plate. I trust catchers as they know the zone but a few of the pitches were clearly strikes. Do ump's hold back on calling strikes if the catchers pull the ball back too fast?
 

Ken Krause

Administrator
Admin
May 7, 2008
3,486
63
Mundelein, IL
Truthfully, good umpires shouldn't be calling the pitch based on what the catcher does with the pitch. They should be calling it based on where the ball crosses the plate (or not), which occurs before anything the catcher does.

That's why framing is referred to as "stealing a strike." You're trying to make a ball look like a strike. No one is perfect, so I'm sure umpires sneak a look now and then if they're not sure.

That said, if the runner isn't going anywhere there's no real reason to rush it. The catcher can hold the pitch for a second or so. But if the runner is moving on a steal I'd rather have the catcher skip the frame and try to get the runner out.
 
Jul 31, 2013
637
28
Truthfully, good umpires shouldn't be calling the pitch based on what the catcher does with the pitch. They should be calling it based on where the ball crosses the plate (or not), which occurs before anything the catcher does.

That's why framing is referred to as "stealing a strike." You're trying to make a ball look like a strike. No one is perfect, so I'm sure umpires sneak a look now and then if they're not sure.

That said, if the runner isn't going anywhere there's no real reason to rush it. The catcher can hold the pitch for a second or so. But if the runner is moving on a steal I'd rather have the catcher skip the frame and try to get the runner out.
I agree to an extent. I also think that framing pitches, specifically borderline pitches, shows the umpire that's where P&C were planning on putting the ball. If a pitcher is hitting that borderline mark consistently, blue needs to call it. I want my catchers showing that to blue when they miss it. I'm not talking about the Domingo Ayala method where you catch it in the batters box and bring it to the center of the plate (lightning fast....erytine). But sticking the pitch (maybe with a little mitt tilt to bring it in) shows blue the precision involved. And some catchers are better than others at making the border look cleaner. Soft hand framing is an art. Stealing strikes is bad umpiring.
 
Mar 1, 2016
194
18
I’m a big fan of a catcher who develops a relationship with the PU, has a conversation with him/her that leads to a slight distraction, and then uses that distraction to frame in a few pitches throughout the game, especially on 2-strike counts. If a catcher can get those calls then there won’t be any runners on base to worry about unless they got a hit. If a catcher can get those calls, it doesn’t mean the umpire is bad. Umpires are just like any other human and like to have conversations with other humans, and just like any other human they can get distracted a little. It’s human nature. A good catcher can use that to her advantage.

I also think that it’s imperative for a catcher to stick every pitch and not carry it into or out of the zone. This technique allows for a more convincing frame, but it takes a lot of work and reps to get it right. Some catchers are just too lazy to pull it off, while others do 100 reps of framing drills 3x/week.

Then there’s the deception factor when trying to pick off a runner. Don’t confuse this with throwing out a base runner on a steal attempt, which has to be done immediately with no time to waste. I’m talking about using a certain degree of deception to pick off a runner. Picture this scenario in your mind: A catcher is in the middle of a conversation with an umpire, the 2-2 pitch is delivered and it’s a ball and a half off the plate. The catcher sticks the pitch as she has been doing for every pitch throughout the game and is able to frame it in and gets a strike call from the slightly distracted umpire (because this is a technique she works on hundreds of reps per week). Then the real deception starts as the catcher looks like she’s going to throw the ball back to the pitcher but makes a snap throw to 3B instead, successfully picking off the runner who let her guard down because it looked like the catcher wasn’t paying any attention to her. That’s a strike-out, throw-out double play, ladies and gents, and that’s the kind of catcher who impresses me. Everyone else is just a receiver.


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Last edited:
May 20, 2015
29
0
Bradenton, FL
I agree the catcher can help their pitcher out a lot receiving the ball correctly and using their body position to present the pitch favorably to the ump.
I always tell DD to stick the pitches that are close for a second to help ump make the right call;) and don't stick pitches that are outside the zone. If runner is going their can be no hesitation.

pet peeve is catchers that try to pull every pitch into the zone or stick every pitch for 5 seconds in the hope the ump will change their mine.
 
Jan 22, 2011
785
28
I prefer the NECC (www.catchingcamp.com) terminology of ' receiving'. Catch the top or outside of ball. Do a slight wrist rotation at most. Anything more than that and you are making the umpire look foolish. This past summer I saw a lot of pitches basically the same called strikes when the catcher caught them 'quietly', but called balls when they looked awkward. I'm only a rec umpire, but I do give catchers who smoothly do the slight wrist rotation to bring it close to the black the strike most of the time.

As an umpire, I only need half a second to call a pitch on the corner a strike. My DD usually only throws to 1st or 3rd if the runner looks like they aren't paying full attention getting back to the bag. Not sure why the focus on trying to backdoor the runner? Job 1 is keeping strikes looking like strikes.

My DD has won a couple games for her teams over the years by getting the pitcher and catcher more worried about her leads than getting the batter out.
 
Last edited:
May 24, 2013
10,342
113
So Cal
If the situation allows you the time to stick the pitch and freeze it for a moment, do it. If the situation demands getting the ball out of your hand and on the way to somewhere else as quickly as possible, do it. Many times that means starting the throwing movement process before the ball is even in your mitt.

In theory, it shouldn't matter what the catcher does with the ball after is crosses the plate. If it's in the strike zone, it should be called a strike. In reality, there are a lot of umps who are influenced by how a catcher receives the ball.
 
May 24, 2013
10,342
113
So Cal
Not sure why the focus on trying to backdoor the runner? Job 1 is keeping strikes looking like strikes.
I agree that receiving is priority. However, if you can show off a quick throw behind a runner at 1B - even if you don't get them out - you can often get a runner to shorten their lead-off. Lots of plays are determined by a matter of inches. Taking some inches away from the runner can be a difference-maker.
 
Jan 22, 2011
785
28
I agree that receiving is priority. However, if you can show off a quick throw behind a runner at 1B - even if you don't get them out - you can often get a runner to shorten their lead-off. Lots of plays are determined by a matter of inches. Taking some inches away from the runner can be a difference-maker.
Which is why I love my lefty catcher.... much easier to keep runners at first honest.
 
May 23, 2015
319
18
Framing is a word that I've heard my whole life. Dads and coaches love to promote it. If you want to get strikes train a quiet catcher. That's crucial. Receiving the ball smoothly will typically go in your favor
 

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