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there are many reasons as to why the catcher has to be behind home plate and NOT play the infield or out field here are a few ...

the catcher gives the signs to the pitcher ( what to throw)

if theres no catcher the 3rd strike will be dropped ( the batter will take 1st easily)

the cather will frame the ball ( make it look like a strike)


Actually the only fundamental reason you need a catcher behind the plate is --- if you do not, then nobody will be in the "catcher box" and this will be a balk on the catcher, meaning you pitcher can never throw a strike because every pitch will be illegal --- other then that you would probably really upset the Home Plate umpire. I guess if you wanted absolutely no chance of winning (because your pitcher cant get anyone out if every pitch is illegal), then you can stick your catcher wherever you want --- all the other things mentioned above is good too, but those are not THE REASON you cannot have a catcher, because even if your catcher doesnt do those things when he is behind the plate your team will be ok (i.e little league catchers dont do most those things)

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Q: Does the catcher have to catch pitches or can he act as another infielder or outfielder when the bases are empty?
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