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Posted On Thursday, 14 April 2022 05:14
Posted On Thursday, 14 April 2022 05:11

I read recently that major league pitchers and catchers now have been given permission (the green light) by MLB to establish signals to counteract “signal stealing” by the opponents during a game. You certainly will recall the system that the Houston Astros were caught using during the 2017 MLB season. But just a minute, stealing signals has been part of baseball since Elston Howard moved from the Negro Leagues to catch for the New York Yankees.

Catchers have been changing signals to their pitcher even before Howard was sitting in that crouch in the Bronx. You’ve seen catchers waggle their fingers from a one or two and move their non-glove hand from one leg to the other. As a kid on the playground, it was simple “one” was a fastball: “two’ was a curve. That was about it. No sliders, no knuckleball, etc. Of course, this was before Little League and adult coaches and way before Tommy John’s surgery. It was a simple game: somebody threw the ball. Somebody caught the ball, and somebody hit the ball. My, how it has grown.

Of course, if you’ve watched MLB managers in the dugout or in the third-base coaching box relay signals to the batter or baserunner, you gotta be confused as to which maneuver was the correct one. If your aging father or old uncle Earl did that in your living room, you gotta think about where he should be living!

When technology appeared, MLB outlawed it. Steal signals if you can but you can’t use technology. In a simple explanation of what the Astros did in 2017: a member of that organization stationed in the centerfield skybox would determine what sign the opposing catcher was using and relay what he believed the type of pitch was next to be delivered via cell phone or another device to the dugout where an assistant would bang on a drum—one bang for a fastball and so on. Hmm, sounds not too much different than what we did as kids, except for the cell phone and other technology.

The catcher will now have a button device on his “mitt” and the pitcher will have an earpiece. The catcher can now avoid all those finger signals to relay to the pitcher which pitch he is calling for. Hmm, guess technology has been allowed in full bloom!

Will you log-in your thoughts on the use of these new devices for MLB? Or do you care?

Posted On Friday, 15 April 2022 00:00 Written by
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