LOS ANGELES -- Umpires might be the only lot of baseball humanity assessed more harshly than young catchers, who are forever judged as Too (Something).
Too Hyper, perhaps.
Too Jumpy. Too Ignorant. Too Slow. Too Emotional. Let's be real about it: Too Whatever the Veteran Pitchers Don't Like.
The Yankees pitchers of 1947 didn't like to throw to future Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, and some of the 1997 Yankees greatly preferred Joe Girardi over Jorge Posada. Pitchers usually get their way -- especially the best pitchers -- and young catchers tend to be the source of a lot of frustration, fairly or not.
What the Dodgers are doing with catcher Will Smith, then, is almost without precedent. We've never seen a serious World Series contender turn over a veteran pitching staff to a rookie catcher late in a season in the way the Dodgers suddenly rely on Smith, who has quickly won over teammates with his advanced skills, his ability to quickly process and utilize information, and his demeanor.