In the film Major League, there is a scene depicting Willy Mays Hayes playing in the outfield and making a catch. The play resulted in Hayes getting the batter out because he caught the ball.

When Hayes returns to the dugout, the manager praises his catch and then immediately scolds him:

Nice catch Hayes. Don't ever f***ing do it again.

WARNING: Explicit language

Why does Lou scold Hayes if he actually got the batter out? Is this some sort of bad catch to make in baseball?

  • 1
    I believe it's because he used a basket catch. That's just show offy, and not particularly effective.
    – CyberClaw
    Feb 6, 2017 at 11:21

3 Answers 3


The proper way to catch a fly ball, which is taught from the very early leagues up through any instructional league, is to hold your glove up above your head, palm up, so your eyes have a perfect line of sight and you can "look the ball into your glove" (that is to say, watch the ball as it descends into your glove). It's proper form and the safest way to make a catch.

Willie Mays, whom "Wille Mays" Hayes gets his nickname from, was known to make riskier plays for the amusement of the fans. He was one of the first to adopt a "basket catch"; a type of catch where you hold your glove like a basket, below your waist. This required a bit more skill and ability to make some calculations quickly, as you can't line up the catch with your eyes and instead you have to rely on more of your judgement.

Lou Brown needs wins, and so wants the team to play using fundamentals and basic baseball procedures. There's no room for flashy plays or the errors that sometimes come with them. So he compliments Hayes on the catch, and then makes sure that he won't take risks in the future.

  • 1
    Ahhh...so, that explains Harry Doyle saying that he makes the catch "Willy Mays style" I know absolutely nothing about baseball, but I love this movie :) Feb 6, 2017 at 18:03
  • 2
    This is the only answer that actually explains what is wrong with the catch he made. Feb 6, 2017 at 18:46
  • 1
    This kind of thing can also be seen in another sequence, where their high-dollar player wasn't putting his body behind ground balls during catch attempts. This is proper form, because if you miss the catch for some reason (eg: ball takes a weird hop) at least your body is likely to stop it. A later sequence shows him doing it properly repeatedly, which indicates he's started caring about the team more than himself.
    – T.E.D.
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:55
  • Reminds me of playing Basketball in Junior High School. Our coach told us that anytime we missed a 3-point shot during a game, we owed him $5. He didn't want us making riskier shots and risk the other team getting the ball. He instead wanted us to get in close and go for the safe 2-pointer shots. Feb 7, 2017 at 0:45

Why does Lou scold Hayes if he actually got the batter out? Is this some sort of bad catch to make in baseball?

Because it's better to be sure and safe rather than be 'clever' and risky.

Is it bad to make the catch? Obviously not...but it's unnecessarily flashy it if goes wrong he could miss or drop the ball and lose the out.

The point is to make the best and safest catch you can and guarantee the out.


He makes a theatrical catch that is not so safe. Keep in mind that the team is build with not-top-players (in some cases, even not-professional players), so every point they make is considered gold, so Lou Brown wants that the players make a safer (and so, sure) catch, without any risks

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