Take Brian Schneider, catcher for the Washington Nationals. Although he has great physical skills, it’s Schneider’s finesse with pitchers that makes him stand out.
Like a great boss, he adjusts his tack for every pitcher.
- For reliever Luis Ayala, it’s encouragement: “After [I give up] a hit or a home run,” Ayala says, “[Schneider will] say: ‘Hey, we’re going to come back. This game is not over. We have two more innings.’”
- For starter John Patterson, it’s a light touch: “He knows that I’m tough on myself, so he really tries to get me to relax. He’ll say: ‘Just focus on the next pitch, let that other stuff go and give me a nice pitch right here.’”
- For reliever Jon Rauch, it’s the confidence he instills: “I have … faith in his knowledge of the game, his knowledge of the hitters and knowing the situation. He’s by far the best defensive catcher around.”