A definitive personality guide for the baseball diamond
And now for some evergreen content. I've played and been involved with baseball for the vast majority of my life. I've experienced it at practically every level in one way or another over the past few decades, and have come across a wide range of personalities in the process. You start to notice trends after a while, including some that line up with the different positions on the field.
Each one has its own set of unique personality traits. Here's my breakdown.
There is a wide spectrum of characters when it comes to pitchers, so I'll categorize them a little.
Meh. These guys can be a little douchey. Right-handed starters often fancy themselves stallions. They usually throw pretty hard and are among the biggest, strongest guys on the roster. Plus, the team will probably rely on them heavily, which further inflates their egos. You'll find exceptions of course, but righties in the rotation can be questionable. Think Gerrit Cole or Trevor Bauer. Maybe Justin Verlander as well, to a degree.
This guy. Wow. Left-handed starters are some of the oddest humans you'll ever know. Some are weird in a goofy way, others are weird in a "I hope he's not my roommate on this road trip" way. Wherever they land, there is likely something a little off with the southpaw in your rotation. The good news is they tend to not take themselves too seriously and have interesting hobbies/interests. You'll have some fun conversations with these guys, and they're probably the ones you want on your team when you're playing beer pong, video games, etc. Any game dudes play a lot.
Relievers are much cooler than starters. There's a lot of free time in the bullpen, which gives them an opportunity to play stupid games and start ridiculous debates. Have you ever considered if you'd rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck? Have you ever played the Outs Game? How 'bout the Bang Bang Click game? Green Glass Door? The Umbrella game? All bullpen staples. Relievers are masters at this kind of shit; the funniest dude on the team is usually a bullpen guy. Hanging out with a group of them during BP was always something I enjoyed.
NOTE: Closers can be tools. Of all the dudes in the pen, you're probably least likely to be friends with the closer, who takes himself way too seriously.
On practically every team I've ever been on, my best friend has been a catcher. A catcher can laugh at himself and is seldom an arrogant prick. How can he be? He has the dirtiest job on the field. He has to sit in an uncomfortable position all game long. He has to make small talk with the umpire and potentially a batter or two (chatty catchers are really annoying when you're hitting, though. They definitely know that and do it on purpose.). And he is rarely called upon to carry the team offensively. Not a lot of room for ego when you're a backstop.
As such, they usually have friendly personalities and are among the smartest guys on the team. They're more dedicated than most, but they still know how to have a good time. Catchers are cool people. Get to know the catcher.
Another friendly fellow. Like the catcher, the first baseman has to do a lot of talking. He can shoot the shit with one of the field umpires, the opposition's first base coach, and every hitter that pays him a visit after a walk or base hit. This position is far less cerebral than catcher, so don't expect the conversation to be as interesting when you're talking to a 1B. These guys are just big and lovable and can probably drink muuuuch more alcohol than you. They're usually great clubhouse guys that keeps things loose before and after the game.
Think Justin Bour. He's the most first baseman-y first baseman that ever first baseman-ed.
Second basemen are some of the hardest workers on the team. They tend to be the smallest in stature, so they need to do a little extra to make an impact on the field. If you're looking for motivation, you can usually find it by watching the keystone go about his business.
They are dirty, literally, and occasionally, figuratively. A 2B's uniform is usually filthy after a game, as a result of absorbing sliding baserunners and laying out for a few balls in the hole. As for the other way of being dirty, you can usually count on these guys to break up a double play, even if it takes a little...extra. That's just the way they are; they do whatever it takes.
Is there some Napoleon Syndrome going on here? Perhaps. Make sure to feel out the sense of humor of your second baseman, because there's a chance he doesn't have one. He's about working hard and making plays, and that's it.
Oy. These guys. If you need someone to properly apply eye black, the shortstop is your man. If you want any tips on which wrist tape or wrist bands look the coolest, talk to the shortstop. Odds are, he's probably the go-to teammate for a pre-game haircut. 'Cause these guys like looking good.
Are they tools? Well, the short answer is...yes. A lot of times the shortstop is a mega toolbag. The nature of the game makes the shortstop the center of attention, apart from the pitcher. This leads to massively inflated egos. I've played with plenty of down-to-Earth shortstops I consider friends to this day. But by proportion, a shortstop is far and away the last person I want to hang out with. Unless I want a rundown of every Tinder match he's gotten over the last month and a half.
Introverts who probably played shortstop at one point in their lives but have been relegated to third base because of their lack of agility, thus knocking their egos down a few pegs. That's basically the gist of the hot corner.
Third basemen have some similar traits to second basemen and catchers. They're tough as nails and bust their asses in practice and in the weight room. They're not as talkative, however. Who is there to talk to? Even if a runner reaches third, he's likely not gonna be close enough to chat up. The shortstop's main friend is the second baseman. The other team's third base coach is giving signs most of the time. There's precious little conversation to be had at third base.
Their quiet nature is also due to the fact that any pitch could result in a 110 MPH rocket hit directly at their faces. Or it could be a bunt. Quite a spectrum of events that they need to be ready for. Maximum concentration is, uh, key.
Expect your third baseman to be an even-keel guy. Never gets too high or too low. Not a bad dude to be friends with, but you might need to initiate the conversation. Every time.
I'm choosing to lump in left and right fielders, since they're basically the same people. These guys are generally the main run producers on the team. As such, their best position is batter's box. They stand in the outfield and ponder the meaning of the universe every other half inning, but in reality, they're on the team because they mash. Don't ever ask a corner outfielder how many outs there are or what the count is. Hell, don't ask him what day of the week it is. There's a solid chance he won't know.
Great guys to be friends with, though. Think a first baseman in slightly better shape. You might not expect it, but there's a surprising amount of chatter that goes on in the outfield. Outfielders like talking to each other, even if they're 150 feet away. It's also the best position for fan interaction, since the fans know that outfielders, specifically corner outfielders, don't have much else to take up their attention.
I speak from experience. I was a corner outfielder. We're a solid bunch of people, in my heavily-biased opinion.
Centerfielders are cut from the same cloth as shortstops. If you're betting on which player will be more of douchebag, the shortstop would be a slight favorite at -100. But centerfielders, the captains of the outfield and probably the most athletic players on the team, are not far behind.
Pray for the poor soul who attempts to call off the centerfielder on a fly ball in the gap. For his rebuttal will be a deafening roar fit for a Rage Against the Machine concert. He's gonna end up with the ball in his glove, whether you like it or not. Get used to it. He's also gonna end up with the girl you have a crush on, whether you like it or not. So get used to that too.
This is an analysis derived purely from my own experience and is not based on any sort of data. Having said that, I'm right. About everything.