According to Bob Nightengale at USA Today, half of MLB teams will be using PitchCom this season to send signals to pitchers and cut down on sign stealing, while also speeding up the game:
MLB anticipates that perhaps 15 of the 30 teams will use Pitch Com this year, permitting the catcher to send a signal on a transmitter to the pitcher_along with three other players_removing the need for actual signs. It should speed up the game, and could eliminate sign stealing.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 5, 2022
Aaron Boone and the Yankees used it on Saturday:
Aaron Boone in-game interview talking about the Yankees using the PitchCom System today. pic.twitter.com/E69ogiaVTj
— John Hankins (@TripleNorm) April 2, 2022
What’s wrong with a little sign stealing? I don’t think we need to be banging on trash cans or using Apple Watches and Excel spreadsheets, but if Rhys Hoskins is on second stealing your signs that’s fair game. Get a better code. Without sign stealing, we’d be speaking German right now. If you can promise me games will be over before 10 p.m. I’ll walk it back and say this is good for baseball. Grow the game.
It feels like a disaster is inevitable. Here’s how PitchCom works according to Matt Young at Chron.com:
“Catchers can put a PitchCom transmitter on their forearm, which makes it look just like a wristband. The black transmitter has nine buttons on it that catchers press to let the pitcher know the pitch he’s calling and the location. On the mound, pitchers have a six-inch rubber receiver inside their hats that communicate the pitch call with a computerized voice – either in Spanish or English – that will tell the pitcher, for instance, “fastball up” or “curveball, down and in.” The catchers also will have the audio device in their helmets, so they can be sure they’ve sent the right signal to their teammate.”
Now how loud is this voice? Like in Oakland if someone is on third base they can definitely hear your hat talking because nobody is in the stadium. The A’s are going to have to continue the silent count at home like they’re the Chargers. If the Phillies are in the middle of a playoff race and we have a juiced up Citizens Bank Park crowd, is Max Scherzer going to be able to even hear this voice to go along with the other voices inside that crazy noggin of his? What if Zach Eflin has a resurgence and he attributes everything to Baseball Siri? Then in Game 7 of the NLCS its rendered useless because of crowd noise and now he’s out there naked on the mound? Are we going to get a “quiet down” motion from the pitcher mid-game at home like he’s a QB on a game winning drive? Is there a custom feature to change the voice and accent of the PitchCom like it’s your Garmin? So many questions.
Three position players other than the catcher and pitcher can wear the devices, too. Can’t wait for Didi Gregorius to blame PitchCom for not working as the reason he didn’t get to that grounder in the 7th. Yesterday its gout. Tomorrow its PitchCom. But I’m sure it will go as well as MLB thinks it will:
“There is wariness over the possibility that the PitchCom technology could be hacked during a game, but as one executive said recently, the NFL has successfully used signaling technology for years, with quarterbacks wearing listening devices built into their helmets.”
"I know that everything gets radioed in, but you know what happens a lot in Foxboro? Your radio goes out."
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) December 16, 2019