I have a fairly simple theory on amazing catches. Namely, I believe they tend to fall into one of two groups: 1) impossible catches made possible and 2) possible catches made to look impossible.
It’s a fairly simple theory, and a conclusion I suspect you’ve come to understand on your own. Essentially, I believe that some players – like Kevin Kiermair, for one example – are capable of making plays that seem to be completely unmakeable, while other players – like Kevin Mitchell, in this instance – make plays look ridiculous … when maybe they didn’t need to.
If you’re not following, watch Mitchell make this bare-handed catch in left field, and see if that helps clear things up:
Now, don’t get me wrong, that is one un-freakin’-believable play … but did it really have to play out that way? It sure seems like a better path and any semblance of an effort to use his glove might have made that play seem a bit easier.
It reminds me a lot of Geena Davis’ famously acrobatic, but purposefully-made-difficult catch behind the plate from A League of Their Own:
Eh … to hell with it – both catches are great.