Baseball is ever-changing, folks. From year-long interleague to the one game Wild Card Elimination Death Match, it’s safe to say that baseball is about innovation. Whether said innovation is actually needed is another matter all together. Today, I’d like to bring your attention to the latest endeavor from the minds of MLB scientists.
MLB is at Nationals’ camp today workshopping a new communication device for pitchers and catchers. It would allow catchers to type a pitch call (with location) into a watch that is connected to a watch the pitcher is wearing on the mound. An effort to eliminate sign-stealing.— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) March 18, 2019
Now you may think this is a stupid idea, but hear me out for a second. It’s actually a really stupid idea. On paper, or on touch screens in this case, it sounds like a futuristic and nifty idea. However, for a company that touts itself on pace-of-play issues, having a catcher type out a pitch call and then waiting for a pitcher to get it would contradict that very idea. Plus, again, it’s a really stupid idea.
So what does this have to do with the Yankees, you might ask? Turns out, they tried this thing out last week and the results may shock you.
Yankees tried these out last week -- and some said it seemed like it would slow down the entire process. https://t.co/TmmytVDXCn— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) March 18, 2019
Of course it slowed down the entire process. Because instead of the catcher using their finger to lay down signs, they’re typing on a small smart watch pad and then waiting for the pitcher to get the message. For every pitch.
Now, I was originally going to post my own silly ideas for other ways pitchers and catchers could communicate with each other to avoid sign-stealing. What fun would that be though? I decided to open this up to the entire Pinstripe Alley staff. Here are the results:
Greg Kirkland - Ghost in the Shell style “cyberization”
Smart watches are clearly not thinking futuristic enough. What we need to do is replace the pitcher & catcher’s brains with cyberbrains, which would allow them to connect their minds via the web. We cannot cyberize their entire bodies, due to the unfair advantage that would give them. That’s just common sense.
Joshua Diemert - Carrier Pigeons
A little old school, but it would definitely give the home team the advantage. Of course, the only downside to this would be if they smelled food in the stands. That would probably be a distraction.
Tyler Norton - Morse code blinking
Not only would this be faster than typing, it would create a nice bond between a pitcher and catcher learning morse code together. The only struggle would be that the pitcher would need to be able to see the catcher’s eyes, so the helmet would have to be removed every time.
Caitlin Rogers - Write it on the baseball and throw it back and forth
Another old school idea, but effective. Players are used to signing baseballs, so the response time should be super fast. They’d just need to cross out the last response. Or just get the umpire to give them a new ball each time. I’m sure they won’t have a problem with notes on them.
Ryan Chichester - Building a tunnel system that carries tubes with notes in it like at a bank
This is the clear winner here. You can perfectly hear the “FOOONMP” sound in your head as the pitcher receives his note. Sure, it would take time to write down the pitch selection on the note, but who cares. Screw pace-of-play. I want my tube system!
Kento Mizuno - Go to the bathroom together after each pitch
The most secure method, thus far. No way to steal-signs or read notes if you can’t see them, or hear them discuss the matter. Now, this would undoubtedly make baseball take a minimum of 15 hours for one game. Sometimes sacrifices must be made.
Kunj Shah - Catcher tells the batter, batter yells it at the pitcher
As someone with a huge ego, I love this idea. Not only will it speed up the game, but it adds an extra level of flair to the sport. Imagine if Jorge Posada told the batter that Mariano Rivera was going to throw the cutter. Dare him to hit it. The problem is that no one really has access to the cutter of legend, so it’s a risky strategy.
Matt Ferenchick - The signs with random pictures that college football teams use to call plays
There’s a lot that could be done with this idea. Sponsorship deals. Special signs for theme nights like Star Wars night. Have Sir Didi Gregorius select the photos. The possibilities are endless.
That’s it from the staff. Please tell us your ridiculous suggestions to improve pitcher and catcher communications and avoid sign-stealing.