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There’s a thanklessness to catching in baseball. Catchers do a lot of the dirty work, and their efforts end up being both extremely challenging and easy for the casual observer to accidentally overlook.

A catcher has many jobs, to lead pitchers, know opposing batters’ strengths and weaknesses, help set fielders, control the other team’s running game and so on. Alex Ramirez, a former hitting maestro who now manages the Yokohama BayStars, used to say he spent as much time, sometimes more, studying catchers as he did pitchers.

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