Teddy Cahill of Baseball America tells us about a new innovation in the never-ending struggle to speed up games: catcher headsets.
Just as quarterbacks never call their own plays anymore and, instead, have them radioed in to them from the sidelines, catchers rarely call their own pitches anymore and have signs relayed to them from the dugout. While it doesn’t seem to take a ton of time to get the signs, it does require the catcher to take his attention off the field and everyone to momentarily stand down. Over the course of 300 pitches in a game a catcher being able to simply set up and listen, rather than look over, is not a trivial amount of time.
Cahill explains how the technology is being tested in the college ranks. If it works, don’t be surprised if you hear about it being tested by the pros soon.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.