Catcher is a position for a baseball or softball player. When a batter takes his/her turn to hit, the catcher crouches behind home plate, in front of the umpire, receives the ball from the pitcher. In addition to this primary duty, the catcher is called upon to master many other skills in order to field the position well; the role of the catcher is similar to that of the wicket-keeper in cricket, but in cricket, wicketkeepers are known for their batting abilities. Positioned behind home plate, the catcher can see the whole field, is therefore in the best position to direct and lead the other players in a defensive play; the catcher calls for pitches using hand signals. The calls are based on the pitcher's mechanics and strengths, as well as the batter's tendencies and weaknesses. Foul tips, bouncing balls in the dirt, contact with runners during plays at the plate are all events to be handled by the catcher, necessitating the use of protective equipment; this includes a mask and throat protectors, shin guards, a padded catcher's mitt.

Because the position requires a comprehensive understanding of the game's strategies, the pool of former catchers yields a disproportionate number of managers in both Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball, including such prominent examples as Connie Mack, Steve O'Neill, Al López, Mike Scioscia, Joe Torre. The physical and mental demands of being involved on every defensive play can wear catchers down over a long season, can have a negative effect on their offensive output; because of the strategic defensive importance of catching, if a catcher has exceptional defensive skills, teams are willing to overlook their relative offensive weaknesses. A knowledgeable catcher's ability to work with the pitcher, via pitch selection and location, can diminish the effectiveness of the opposing team's offense. Many great defensive catchers toiled in relative anonymity, because they did not produce large offensive numbers. Notable examples of light-hitting, defensive specialists were Ray Schalk, Jim Hegan, Jim Sundberg and Brad Ausmus.

Schalk's career batting average of.253 is the lowest of any position player in the Baseball Hall of Fame. That he was selected for enshrinement in 1955 was a tribute to his outstanding defensive skills. In the numbering system used to record baseball plays, the catcher is assigned the number'2'. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the game of baseball began to evolve from a sport played by amateurs for recreation into a more serious game played by professionals. One of the most dramatic changes was the transition of the pitcher's delivery from an underhand motion to an overhanded throw. Before the American Civil War, the pitcher's role was to initiate the action by offering an underhanded throw to the batter, in much the same way that a basketball referee offers up a jump ball to begin play. Since this type of pitching caused the batter to hit lazy, foul pop-ups, catchers played their position twenty to twenty-five feet behind the batter, wore no protective equipment; as the game progressed towards professionals and became more serious, pitchers began to attempt to prevent the batter from hitting the ball by throwing faster pitches.

With the introduction of the called strike in 1858, catchers began inching closer to home plate due to the rules requirement that a strikeout could only be completed by a catch. The rules governing the delivery of pitches proved to be hard to enforce, pitchers continued to stretch the boundaries of the rules until the 1870s when the release point of pitches had reached the pitcher's waist level. Pitchers had begun throwing overhand by 1884, the National League made a rule change removing all restrictions on the pitcher's delivery; these developments meant that catchers began to take on a crucial defensive role, as a pitcher's deceptive deliveries could only be effective if the catcher was capable of fielding them. The progression of the catcher positioning himself closer to the plate would lead to changes in pitching deliveries that would revolutionize the sport. In the 1870s, pitcher Candy Cummings was able to introduce the curveball because his catcher, Nat Hicks, fielded his position in close proximity to home plate and was able to catch the deceptive pitch.

Other specialized pitches such as the spitball and the knuckleball followed, which further emphasized the defensive importance of the catcher's position. At about the same time that catchers began fielding their position closer to home plate, baseball teams began using a less rubbery ball which led to a decline in the number of runs scored. In the 1860s it sixty runs in a game; the combination of the new, harder ball and the continuation of the rise in pitcher's release points helped usher in what became known as the Dead-ball era. The decrease in run production placed greater significance on stolen bases and bunts, which in turn emphasized the crucial defensive role played by catchers. In 1901, the National League introduced a new rule specifying that the catcher must stand within 10 feet of home plate; the American League adopted the rule the following year. The rising velocity of pitches in conjunction with catchers moving closer to home plate increased the risk of injuries for catchers face and hand injuries.

By the late 1870s, catchers began to use padded, fingerless gloves to protect their hands, in 1877 the first protective catcher's mask was used. The first catchers to use protective masks sometimes had their courage called into question, but the effectiveness of the masks in preventing injuries meant that they became accepted. In the 1880s, the first padded chest protectors came into use, in 1888 sp

Mirakururun Grand Purin! / PÄ«hyara Kouta

"Mirakururun Grand Purin!/Pi~hyara Kouta" is the eleventh single of the Morning Musume subgroup Minimoni. It was released on November 19, 2003 and sold 16,410 copies, reaching number 22 on the Oricon Charts; this was Minimoni's third single under the alias Minihams, a shared double A-side with Natsumi Abe, who performs the second track as Purin-chan. Like the Minihams, Purin-chan is a hamster character in the anime Hamtaro's third movie. All songs composed by Tsunku. "Mirakururun Grand Purin!" "Pi~hyara Kouta" Performed by Natsumi Abe as Purin-chan. "Mirakururun Grand Purin!" "Pi~hyara Kouta" Mika Todd Nozomi Tsuji Ai Kago Ai Takahashi Mirakururun Grand Purin!/Pi~hyara Kouta entry on the Up-Front Works website

Alsophila latebrosa

Alsophila latebrosa, synonym Cyathea latebrosa, is a common and widespread species of tree fern native to Indochina. Its natural range covers Cambodia and Thailand, stretches from the Malay Peninsula to Indonesia, where it is present on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Plants reported from India and Sri Lanka have thinner indusia and may represent a separate, as-yet undescribed, species. A. latebrosa grows in a wide range of habitats, including forest, secondary forest, plantations, from sea level up to an elevation of about 1500 m. The trunk of Alsophila latebrosa is erect and grows to a height of 3–4 m. Fronds are about 2 m long, they form a sparse, feathery crown. The stipe is reddish-brown and bears some scales near the base; these scales are dark and have fragile edges. Stipes may be retained in younger plants. Sori occur near the fertile pinnule midvein, they are protected by bilobed indusia that are scale-like in appearance. A. Latebrosa is a variable tree fern. Large and Braggins note that it forms part of a complex of species, not understood.

A. Latebrosa appears to be most related to Alsophila incisoserrata, from which it differs in pinnule morphology and in not having scales throughout the length of the stipe. In cultivation, this species is not tolerant of frost. Plants should be provided with a plentiful supply of moisture and grown in well-drained humus