"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Catch of the Day

If you didn’t see this story by Jason Fry, do yourself a favor, it’s a gem.

I also really dug this piece by King Kaufman about playing catch with his seven-year-old son:

It is fun. I’d forgotten that. It’s been coming back to me as we toss the ball back and forth, usually from only 40 feet or so. I just love playing catch. I always have.

…I’ve never really felt that some great mystical communication was going on when I was playing with a friend, or with my dad. It’s fun to play catch with someone I hardly know too. I love the rhythm of it. The simplicity. I love the sound, the pop of the glove when there’s a little mustard on the throw and it’s caught square in the pocket. Catch is a little hypnotizing. It ought to be the most boring thing in the world, but I’ve never ended a game out of boredom. I’ve worn out my arm a few times, though.

I love playing catch with my son not because some magical, wordless discourse travels between us but because I love playing catch and I love that he enjoys playing it with me.

I don’t know about anything mystical but having a catch is one of the great pleasures in this life, at least when you’ve got the right partner. My brother is one of those guys (Jon DeRosa is one of those guys, Glenn Stout is too). Can’t think of many things better, really. My bro knows how to throw, how to pitch, how to toss pop flys and grounders, just the way I like. We have fun with it, and have a lot of laughs.

Don’t even have to talk. I like that. The satisfying pop of the glove when the ball hits the pocket just right, the appealing sensation of hitting the target dead-on. I like the feeling of knowing how to throw and catch, knowing that I’ve got good mechanics and that I look good doing it. My vanity about it cracks me up. In my mind’s eye it makes me feel competent and good, the realization that I could have a catch with a big leaguer and not humiliate myself. I may not have been any good as a player but I’m certain that I can at least imitate one.

[photo credit: Weblog of the Turner Family]

Tags:  catch  jason fry  king kaufman

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1 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 29, 2010 10:08 am

Love playing catch with my sons. We do it as a group mostly, throwing around the horn - but I wish we could do more one-on-one.

Doesn't even have to be a baseball. We love throwing and chasing down footballs, shooting hoops, kicking around a soccer ball.

My sons aren't big enough to throw a frisbee very far, but that's my favorite version of catch with my old buddies.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 29, 2010 10:32 am

Chasing down footballs is great. Love running little patterns...

3 bp1   ~  Apr 29, 2010 10:53 am

Yep. Catch is great. I don't get to do it too often - my girls aren't interested - but at family picnics it's always a highlight. One of my wife's cousins remarked I had a good arm, deceptive with a slow motion, so I know what you mean AB about the "vanity" of it, lol. "Dude has a good arm" is always a great compliment.

For some reason tossing a football blows out my arm. My shoulder and bicep are shot for a good day afterward, even if I don't try to wing it very hard. Must have done something as a kid, 'cause the football toss is killer to me. Baseball is no problem if I don't overdue it, but football. Ouch. I remember after playing pickup ball as a kid, I'd have this deep throbbing pain in my shoulder and bicep and my arm would feel dead. Never said anything - you know how guys are - it'll go away - but now I wonder.

Playing pickle is next best thing to playing ball. Two bases, two guys with gloves, someone trying to steal from one to the other. That's always a blast. Another family picnic favorite, especially when it's the kids running.

4 festus   ~  Apr 29, 2010 10:55 am

King Kaufman has long been one of my favorite sports writers. Underrated.

5 NYYfan22   ~  Apr 29, 2010 1:05 pm

My son is 6. He lives and breathes baseball. The kid want's to play ball 24/7. If it's raining or cold, he wants to watch baseball on TV -- none on TV? Pop in the ol' Yankees DVD. He's not very good at catching the ball yet, but he loves playing. And I love it, too.

Thanks for the link, Al.

6 thelarmis   ~  Apr 29, 2010 1:38 pm

i've always loved having a catch. don't get to do it much anymore. once or twice a year up in NY w/ my middle nephew, who is quite the baseball player. i used to have great catches with my pop growing up. i was a center fielder, so the best was when he sent soaring fly balls past me.

if no one was around, i'd throw pop-ups to myself in the street. i grew up really near JFK, so i'd try to reach the planes as they'd roar low, overhead! i have to be careful now. i had major shoulder surgery on my left arm, so i can't really extend my arm high to catch a ball coming in fast. and my right arm gets sore from throwing pretty easily. if it affects my drumming, i'm fucked. somewhere along the line, i got old and fragile. i think i was about 21 or 22 when that happened... ; )

for catches, we had a lot of yard at the garden apt's in Queens. then it was on the street in long island. my long-term ex-g/f and i used to have a baseball catch quite often in the park here in atlanta. she was good and it was a ton o' fun.

i remember here at the banter a coupla years ago, we talked about the folks that "play catch" and "have a catch". i always have a catch. "playing" catch doesn't sound right to me. it's not a game. we also had a fun talk here about "glove" or "mitt". i always call it a glove. i guess for catchers & first basemen, it would be a "mitt"...

7 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 29, 2010 2:01 pm

[6] right you are, thelarmis. I say "have/having a catch" but I write "play/playing catch." I should write it like I say it! I remember that discussion.

I say gloves all around, but catchers wear mitts.

8 NYYfan22   ~  Apr 29, 2010 2:34 pm

[6] have a catch.. for sure.

Dude, you better keep that arm in tip-top. Check out what's looming in your area!

9 thelarmis   ~  Apr 29, 2010 2:47 pm

[8] oh. my. god. that's crazy. i haven't decided if i like it or not. i think i hate it. this is ridiculous. i've already been replaced on the drumset by stoopid machines. the last instrument in the world i thought i'd be replaced on is my marimba. this is awful. and highly unnecessary. yet, i'll forward this article to a bunch of people. why in the world would anyone come up with a robot marimbist??? just hire me!!!

10 NYYfan22   ~  Apr 29, 2010 3:20 pm

egh, don't worry about it. It's just a gimmick. this isn't, though. (it takes a minute to load once you push play)

11 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 29, 2010 3:22 pm

In Strat-o-Matic terms, I used to have a -4 arm. Nowadays its probably 0 or -1, and my range is probably a 4. :-(

But catch ... yeah nothing beats a catch in the early evening fading light, just after dinner.

(I wonder if I still have my glove ....)

12 thelarmis   ~  Apr 29, 2010 3:41 pm

[10] nice. keiko abe is great! it used to be where you'd need a robot to play 6 mallets. i'm afraid, i play only 4 at a time.

ok, no more links - i have to get to my OWN music today! : )

13 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Apr 29, 2010 4:58 pm

[11] Heh heheheh. Strat-o-matic.
Good old Strat-o-matic.

-4 meant something like you subtract four from the number on the card and then consult the baserunner's speed (Rickey was a 19, I think, out of 20, which meant only a twenty could throw him out but my friend I used to play with ripped up all the 20s so Rickey could never be thrown out) and do some kind of calculation or something or other.

Ah, the good old days.

I play/have a catch with my 7yo all the time, but I don't actually know which one I say.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver