- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- On Carlton Fisk replica statue day, the Hall of Fame catcher took time to talk about the state of the game and how it’s played almost 20 years after his forced in 1993.
Fisk was pointed when asked about how baseball has changed.
“I think in a lot of ways the game has been taken away from pitchers and catchers,” Fisk said.
“You see it at junior-high girls softball, high school, college, minor leagues and now the big leagues. The catcher and the pitcher don’t run the games. They just don’t run the game. The calls come from the dugout most of the time, so when things get tough and the game is on the line, there is no reservoir of experience to say ‘this is how I can get through this.”
Fisk isn’t too keen on rule changes that have occurred over the years, including the umpire warnings to managers and players after somebody has been hit by a pitch.
“The game has been taken away from the pitchers and catchers by some of the rules that have been instituted in that teams aren’t allowed to police their own anymore,” he said. “You have umpires who do not follow pitchers and how they are pitching and who they are pitching to as well as the stuff they have. As a result they, don’t have a handle on the emotional highway of the game.”
The 64-year-old baseball icon doesn’t think he missed anything by not managing or coaching after his playing career ended.
“ I played long enough to get my fill as a player,” said Fisk, who played 25 years before he was released by the White Sox in 1993. “I don’t want to belabor the point, but I didn’t leave here very happy. It took me a long time to come to grips with that. I thought at one time, I would get back at it on a limited basis, but it is tough to do that and keep any continuity.”
Fisk, who works in community relations for the White Sox and does workshops for the Hall of Fame, is not surprised by the early success that his former teammate Robin Ventura has had managing the White Sox.
“He knows the game, the only thing really in question is the pitching staff (running the game),” said Fisk. “He never really abandoned the game, even when he wasn’t playing he was still involved in the College World Series.”
Carlton Fisk doesn't like the modern pitcher-catcher dynamic.