New York (AB) – In a move to put an end to more than 150 years of tradition, Major League Baseball has approved the use of an electronic device to signal pitches in an attempt to eliminate sign theft and speed games.
Since the beginning of baseball in the 19th century, catchers have been using their fingers to mark the type of pitch and its intended location.
As video has increased at ballparks in the 21st century, so has sign theft – and concerns about how teams are trying to swipe signals. During the race for the Houston Astros 2017 World Series title, he was fined for using a camera to warn their batters about pitch types and hitting the trash.
MLB Chief Operations and Strategy Officer Chris Marinock said on Tuesday, “It basically eliminates all the need to create signs for captors.” You actually press a button that gives the pitcher a pitch call. As we have seen so far, it really improves the speed of the game.
Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Rossa and New York Yankees’ Aaron Boone tried this method in spring training.
Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka used this spring practice twice, with pitcher Michael King against Detroit in the final exhibition game in New York on Tuesday.
“There are a few more things. So, it’s always there when we need it. We’re making all the mistakes now. If there’s a setback in the game, we can always give symptoms. I do not care too much about it being confusing,” he said.
“I like it. At first I gave the king the opportunity today because I didn’t have a chance to talk about it, so I started to confuse it. So I decided to give the symptoms and it worked well,” he said.
MLB provides each group with three transmitters, 10 receivers and a charging case for the PitchCom Pitcher Catcher communication device. It is available in English and Spanish.
“A maximum of five receivers and one transmitter can be of any use at any time,” MLB wrote in a five-page notebook on Tuesday to general managers, assistant GMs, managers and equipment managers, a copy of which was obtained by The Associates. Press.
A catcher has nine choices in his watch device: “Four stitch heights inside, curve high middle, slider hi outside, mid inside switch, Singer middle, cutter mid out, splitter low middle, knuckle low middle, two seam low outside.”
A thin band inside a cap allows you to listen to the audio at an adjustable level, which can be used by pitchers, second pacemen, shortstops and center fielders.
“When switching pitchers, the manager will transfer the receiver to the replacement pitcher,” the note said.
Receivers and transmitters can only be used on the field and should not be operated during clubhouse, duckouts or games in the field.
The note states, “Signals transmitted by Pitchcom can only be given by the catcher in the game. Signals may not be sent from Duckout, Pullben, another player on the field or anywhere else.” Clubs are responsible for their Pitchcom equipment. Any club that loses the transmitter or receiver will be charged an alternative fee of $ 5,000 per unit.
Marinac said half of the 30 MLB clubs have expressed interest.
“I’m not sure every team will use this,” Marinak said during MLB’s third annual innovation and fan engagement exhibition. “I think it’s kind of a personal favorite.”
Union President Tony Clark pointed out that the devices were not mandatory.
“It is important to ensure the flexibility of players to use or not use technology at their own discretion,” the former All-Star First Paceman said in a statement. “Guys on the field are in a better position to make individual decisions about what’s right for them.”
Players can no longer watch game-in-game video replays on Clubhouse TVs, but can only review video on iPods controlled by the MLB Office. The video will only be updated at the end of each half-inning, and players can go back and play again, but will not be able to view the content while the half-inning is in progress.
“Players have no access to any technology beyond what we offer in terms of sports video and beyond,” Marinac said. “We track all traffic transfers, so we can understand what content is being delivered to the iPad.”
The new system of referees with microphones to explain video reviews to fans began with an exhibition game at Dodger Stadium on Monday night. MLB now takes video from 104 of the 120 smaller league ballparks
10 Triple-A West Parks, Automatic Ball / Strike System of Computer Blade Referees in Triple-A East Charlotte and Low-A Southeast. MLB wants to interpret calls on stadium scoreboards.
Pitch watches will be used on all small league grounds, which may be a preview for installation on major league ballparks by 2023.
MLB has unveiled its new 1,400-sq-ft Replay Operation Center in Midtown Manhattan, which opened just like the COVID-19 hit in 2020 and replaced the 900-sq-ft SoHo facility that has been in use since 2014.
The 31 x 29-foot room has 90 46-inch professional monitors and 60 24-inch touchscreen monitors, three desks with six screens behind supervisors and administrators, and then two more rows of technicians.
According to Chris Jagorsky, vice president of replay operations and technology, MLB takes 18 cameras from each ballpark.
In the event of a power outage in New York, there is a backup replay center in San Francisco. For special event games such as Dyersville, Iowa, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and London, the site has a recurring playroom.
Marinak said fans using the MLB Ballpark app to enter stadiums with electronic tickets increased from 3% in 2017 to 19% in 2019 and 56% in 2021.
MLB also said that early helmet ads will start appearing in the post-2022 season. Players agreed last month to the uniform and helmet ads, and the jersey ads will not launch until 2023 soon.
AP Freelance writer Mark Tytler contributed to this report.
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