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Center fielder

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The position of the center fielder
The position of the center fielder

A center fielder, abbreviated CF, is the outfielder in baseball who plays defense in center field – the baseball and softball fielding position between left field and right field. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the center fielder is assigned the number 8.

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Transcription

Now, I'm standing in center field. If the short stop is the general of the infield, the center fielder is the king of the outfield. He has dominion over the entire outfield. He can call anyone off at any time, including the short stop, the second baseman, the left fielder, or the right fielder. Whatever ball is hit, if the center fielder calls that ball, then everyone else needs to back off and let the center fielder have it. He has the best view of the entire field and also, the most responsibility. He has to cover balls hit deep. He has to cover balls that are hit shallow over the infield; little rockets hit right up the middle between the short stop and the second baseman. He has to back up the right fielder. He has to back up the left fielder. He has to back up the second baseman and the short stop. The center fielder has great deal of responsibility. He also has to watch the runners, such as, where they're moving. If he fields the ball, he needs to make the decision on where to throw it. If a runner's coming into second he needs to make the decision to throw it there. If a runner's trying to score he needs to choose whether or not to throw to second and let that runner score or try to make a play at the plate. He also needs to tell his left and right fielders what they need to do and where they need to throw the ball. So, he, again, needs to be a general, a king, a captain, a playmaker. He has to make plays himself and he also has to tell everyone else what to do in the outfield. He's like a quarterback in football. Those cover the basic responsibilities of a center fielder.

Position description

Outfielders must cover large distances, so speed, instincts and quickness to react to the ball are key. They must be able to catch fly balls above their heads and on the run. They must be able to throw the ball accurately over a long distance to be effective.

As well as the requirements above, the center fielder must be the outfielder who has the best combination of speed and throwing distance. The center fielder "covers more 'grass' than any other player" (see photo) and, most likely, will catch the most fly balls. The position also has the greatest responsibility among the three outfielders for coordinating their play to prevent collisions when converging on a fly ball, and on plays where the center fielder does not make the catch, he must position himself behind the corner outfielder as backup. The center outfielder is the captain of the outfield and has the authority to call off the corner fielders when he has a better chance to catch the ball. Aside from requiring more speed and range, the center field position is slightly easier to field because balls tend to fly on a straight path, rather than curving as they do for the other outfield positions. A center fielder's vision and depth perception is a coveted skill and must be above average. Because the position requires a good arm and fast legs, center field is generally where the team puts its best all-around athletes;

View from center field at Minute Maid Park.
View from center field at Minute Maid Park.

When a base runner is trying to steal second base the center fielder must back up second base on throws from the catcher to second base in case the second baseman misses the catch or it is a bad throw.

Hall of Fame center fielders

See also

This page was last edited on 24 December 2019, at 06:24
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