The Symbolism And Use Of Dream Catchers

Dream catchers are popular symbols used in modern culture and decor that have a long and spiritual heritage. What do these object really symbolise and how has their meaning altered as they have passed between cultures?

Native American tradition is the origin of dream catchers, with the Sioux Indians being noted for their use of the objects. The concept is very simple – dreams are seen as being airborne entities that chose a host and nightmares are trapped in the net while pleasant dreams are allowed to drift through unhindered. The folklore that brought about dream catchers varies between tribes, but it is often attributed to a spider that offers her web to help protect a tribe – hence the web design. These dream catchers were then hung in the home and above children’s beds as a means to protect them as they slept.

They are fairly simple to construct and contain few components, but each part holds a meaning and are vital in the performance of the object. A web is woven around a willow hoop, and a number of personal items are hung from the hoop to increase its sacred power and make the item more personal to the household it is trying to help. The stereotypical image of a dream catcher is for there to be feathers adorning it, and often there are also items such as beads and arrowheads for extra worth and protection. It is generally believed that these feathers are placed on the dream catcher of a young child, and that the choice of feather type is deeply significant. The feather of an owl symbolises feminine qualities and wisdom, while eagle feather – which are the type most commonly depicted – are masculine and a sign of strength.

In modern culture, dream catchers still hold a significant place, with many choosing to continue the tradition in their own bedrooms. The adaptability and room for customisation means that these items can be very contemporary and personal – however some people from Native American lineage believe that this is disrespectful and a sign of the undesirable commercialisation of their culture. As well as using feathers – which do not necessarily have to be from the original source – beads and charms that hold personal significance to the user can be added, and the web can be woven out of thread of a range of colours to match the look of a room or a personality.

Alternatively, instead of placing dream catchers above your bed, you can instead opt to have one permanently adorned on your body in the form of a tattoo. Artwork that is inspired by Native American customs are very popular with those that want to show their appreciation of the culture or get in touch with their own heritage. Much like the real dream catchers, the tattoo is often used to symbolise protection. It can be either a symbol of permanent protection for the wearer own dreams and aspirations, or a sign that they are looking to protect their family. It many cases however it is just a pretty image with no deep connection – expanding on the view that this symbolic item is slowly losing its spirituality.

The meaning of dream catchers may be altering as the centuries progress, and for some their use in tattoos may seem disrespectful, however many people are simply adapting the object to modern times and continuing a long, spiritual tradition.

2011 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings

While others are compiling lists of the best available players, you will be crafting a team with the goal of winning categories. It’s simple marginal value. Take the parameters your are forced to accept in your league rules and find where that creates value. The auction dollar values below are based on projections for a 5X5 12 team mixed rotisserie league. This isn’t a guess of how much players will go for, but rather our idea of how much your budget they’ll be worth for the 2011 season.

2011 Catchers Rankings

“He looked like this little kid who got left at a bus station by his parents. You know why? Because he had to catch Hoyt Wilhelm’s knuckleball. Five long years. The worst gig in baseball. It was like trying to catch a greased pig with wings. I mean, he even told a reporter once, ‘Wilhelm nearly ruined me.’ Gus Triandos. Big slow guy.”

– Thomas “Herc” Hauk

1) Joe Mauer- $28

Phil Hildreth: Mauer is in a class by himself here. Even if he doesn’t ever get his 2009 home run stroke back, he is going to hit third in an offense that has only trailed the Yankees and Red Sox in putting batters on base over the past three years.

Herman Obandol: Unfortunately, the Twins organization’s decision not to move the outfield fences is going to ensure that Mauer’s power swing won’t be back. He only hit one home run at Target Field last year. Still, Mauer is a difference maker, I think he can be taken in the late first round.

PH: From what I’ve seen it’s a pretty safe bet that he will still be there in the second round of even a 12 team league, but I agree that you can build a winning team around Mauer even though he won’t play 150 games and he’s an injury risk. Taking Mauer instead of even someone in the next tier of catchers allows for greater flexibility at other positions (think of it as banking an extra 30 avg points to use later on Adam Dunn or Michael Stanton).

HO: Are you really concerned about injury here? It comes down to this, when you spend big with money or draft picks you better come away with a player that helps you win something. Mauer is a piece that helps you win categories. Taking Mark Texiera or Adrian Gonzalez in the first round doesn’t put you ahead of the rest of the league, its just holding serve.

2) Carlos Santana – $23

3) Brian McCann – $21

4) Buster Posey – $21

5) Victor Martinez – $19

HO: This is where teams have tendency to overpay/overdraft players who aren’t going to move the needle very much. Everyone knows there are only five catchers that make you feel good and that’s going to inflate the price of the top five in an auction. That said, our projections seem to think Santana is the best of the bunch, do you agree?

PH: Not really. Santana is recovering from a pretty terrible knee injury in a pretty terrible offense. All of these four come with a fair amount of hype so I’m most likely going to wait for the next tier if i miss out on Mauer. Victor Martinez would scare me the most, yet I’ve seen some “experts” put him as the #1 catcher.

HO: I also think that Posey is going to be a value trap this year. Remember that he still hasn’t played a full season in the majors and his monthly splits show that his stats benefited from a monster July. This also might be a good time to alert everyone that Cody Ross and Edgar Renteria have no fantasy value despite all of the home runs they hit last October.

PH: So because we haven’t said anything about McCann yet, does that mean he’s the best value of this group. Nah probably not.

6) Kurt Suzuki – $10

7) Geovany Soto $10

8) Mike Napoli $10

9) Matt Wieters $9

PH: This is probably the sweet spot value wise for this position. I like Suzuki more than most because there is no way that he repeats his 2010 performance of seeing 20% of his flyballs caught as infield popups (worst in the league). His average should rise and he is one of the few catchers that plays almost everyday.

HO: I like Napoli here now that he has finally escaped the Mike Socia platoon and should see plenty at bats in the powerful Rangers lineup. Also we forget how young Wieters is. He may not be as bad as we remember him from last year and don’t sleep on my revamped Orioles lineup.

10) Jesus Montero $8

11) Russell Martin $7

PH: Clearly both of these guys can’t be worth this much. One of these guys is going to get the bulk of the at bats in the Yankee lineup. Currently, that means stay away until this position battle sorts itself out. If Jesus is the back stop he could be a 20+ HR guy; Martin’s value comes from a potential for be a sneaky soursneaky double digit steals if he gets the nod.

HO: I agree that you shouldn’t pay these prices but one of these guys is going to be the great value find at the catcher position so I’m going to take a flier on Montero if he comes cheap/late.

12) Ryan Doumit $5

13) Miguel Olivo $5

14) AJ Pierzynski $5

15) Jorge Posada $4

16) Miguel Montero $3

HO: This group has talent but is flawed either in age or playing time. In Posada’s case it’s both. Its frustrating that the the Pirates seem to like Chris Snyder more than Doumit. It’s actually reassuring to be on the opposite side of the Pirates front office though. Free Doumit!

PH: Montero’s competition for playing time is the training room, but I like him in short stints as a platoon play. I’ve noticed that Pierzynski is disappearing off many cheat sheets but he doesn’t really hurt your team anywhere at thats almost all you can ask from a #2 catcher.

17) Yadier Molina $2

18) John Buck $2

19) Chris Ianetta $2

20) Ramon Hernandez $2

PH: There isn’t much value in a backup catcher. You need one but the waiver wire will have virtually identical stats floating around. The only thing this group really offers is playing time and job security. Hey, making sure you get 162 games played at each position is a large part of racking up counting stats.

HO: I can’t bring myself to spend money/draft spots on a #2 catcher. When I need a second catcher I’ll deal with the waiver wire later. I’d rather take a speculative OF or starting pitcher. Unless of course Bryce Harper is still around…

21) JP Arenciabia $1

22) Carlos Ruiz $1

23) Josh Thole $1

24) Bryce Harper $1

HO: You know someone is going to take Bryce Harper. Best case scenario is a repeat of Buster Posey’s call up last year. That’s a pretty high upside so if you don’t have to give up much I say go for it.

PH: Arenciabia is getting some hype as a power hitter and I see him as a better speculative play for this year because, unlike Harper, he is going to at least start the year in the big leagues. Thole has shown that he can hit for average so he might be a useful plug in player at some point during the season during a hot streak. I’m not really sold on rookie catchers though. Posey and even Santana last year are exceptions to the norm, not a new normal.

Major League Catchers – The Best of the 1960s

The pitching in the 1960s was the best in baseball history. That means the guys behind the plate, calling and catching those games, had to be among the best, too.

The 1960s may have been thin on Hall of Fame catchers. (Only Yogi Berra, Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk are Hall of Fame catchers who played in the 1960s … but played most of their careers in other decades.) However, there were several receivers who consistently delivered, both offensively and defensively, to their teams’ success.

Here’s my rundown of the top 10 catchers of the 1960s, based on a combination of their hitting prowess and their handling of pitchers.

1. Elston Howard – A masterful handler of pitchers with a potent bat, Howard hit .287 during his MVP season of 1963, catching 132 games and winning the first of his 2 Gold Glove awards.

2. Joe Torre – Though his best years came with the St. Louis Cardinals in the early 1970s (including a batting title and Most Valuable Player award in 1971), Torre was probably the best all-around catcher in the National League during the 1960s. From 1960 to 1968, he hit a combined .294 with a career-high 36 home runs in 1966.

3. Bill Freehan – This durable Tiger caught more than 100 games per year from 1964 through 1972, winning consecutive Gold Gloves from 1965 to 1969. His .993 fielding percentage is tied for 3rd all-time among catchers.

4. Earl Battey – The “heart” of the Minnesota Twins 1965 American League championship team, Battey was in the powerful Twins lineup for his defense, but had plenty of pop in his bat. Battey hit .277 during the 1960s (.270 for his career).

5. John Roseboro – Handling the likes of Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Johnny Podres and Claude Osteen, it could be argued that Roseboro caught the best starting rotation of the 1960s. He was a .240 career hitter who best single-season average was .287 in 1964.

6. Tim McCarver – In 1966, McCarver became the last (thus far) catcher to lead the major leagues in triples, with 13 that season. Except for short stints in Boston and Montreal, He spent nearly his entire career with the Cardinals and the Phillies, hitting .271.

7. John Romano -Romano’s best year was 1962, when he hit 25 home runs and knocked in 81 runs as Cleveland’s starting catcher. He was traded to the White Sox in 1965 in a 3-team deal that brought Rocky Colavito back to Cleveland.

8. Randy Hundley – Randy Hundley baseball’s most durable catcher in the 1960s, and one of the best defensively. He caught over 600 games from 1966 to 1969, averaging 63 RBIs per season.

9. Johnny Edwards – For most of the 1960s, Johnny Edwards was the everyday catcher for the Cincinnati Reds. He averaged 130 games per year at catcher through 1965, with an average of 10 home runs and 55 RBIs per year.

10. John Blanchard – A career back-up (to Yogi Berra and Elston Howard), Blanchard hit .305 with 21 home runs and 54 RBIs in only 243 at-bats. He also hit 4 pinch home runs that season, the 4th highest total in major league history.