One of the things people enjoy about sports is the role they role they play in starting conversations and debates. People enjoy arguing, especially about trivial matters like “who was the best hitter of all time?” and “who’s the best shortstop in the game right now?” These exchanges satisfy one’s desire to engage in battles of wits without challenging someone’s moral character, which is what often happens when debates turn to more sensitive topics such as politics or religion.
Sports allows for fierce debate with extraordinary low stakes. Think about how much time we’ve spent arguing about the difference between Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera! While you might think those conversations were tremendously unproductive, I would submit that they provided many people with a confrontational, emotional, and intellectual outlet. We’re a species blessed with language and reason, but cursed with imperfections in both. Arguing about the performance of athletes allows us to exercise those muscles without inadvertently causing real damage to society.
In that realm, I would like to present a baseball question to which you have probably devoted almost no attention. If you could take the best attributes of baseball’s backup catchers and fuse them into a single, lovable backstop, what components would you choose and how valuable would the resulting Frankenstein Catcher be?