STOCKTON, California (KTXL) – Major League Baseball has begun testing an electronic pitcher-catcher communication device for the eight teams that make up the California League.
The transition to an electronic system effectively means that the sign series used by catchers and throwers, to decide which courses to throw, will not be visible to fans at upcoming Modesto Nuts or Stockton Ports games.
“So, this is in the style of stealing characters, and it’s kind of finding a way with new technology to protect it from possible infiltration,” explained Stockton Ports CEO Rico Brogna. “Definitely cheated … went a little too far.”
“So first I saw it online, and I was like, ‘What is this? What’s going on?'” Said Ports jug Jake Walkinshaw. “You always hesitate to try new things, and now you think there’s something like that “I’m going to mess with your routine. But I was just glad I got to try it in the bullpen first.”
“Honestly, I have no complaints about it, and I think using the game, with a guy on second base, instead of throwing down four or five characters and figuring out a sequence, I think it’s going to get speed of the game for us, “says Walkinshaw. added.
Portman Matt Cross liked it too. “Oh, so easy. It has a guide on the front, and you just turn it back, and it has a square box for the strike zone, it has all the paths on it, and everything is fine, he said.
The unit has the collector that carries the transmitter as a bracelet, while the receivers are in both the mug cap and the prisoner’s helmet.
The transmitter contains nine buttons to select the desired pitch and location, and is programmed in both English and Spanish.
“It was comfortable in the ear. It spoke clearly to me, and it’s quite simple instead of trying to decipher a number of signs from the catcher,” Walkinshaw said.
“You know, he shook me and we went back to it. Quick and easy, no confusion. It was easy,” Cross said.
The electronic system is the latest in a long list of experiments performed through the minor leagues this season, all to try to increase the game action and ultimately shorten the time for each game.
“It’s a good place to try things out in the minor leagues, and if that doesn’t disrupt the essence of the game, throws can make courses, not to think about anything else, so OK,” said Brogna.
The company that makes the device, PitchCom, says that hacking the system is practically impossible since it uses an industrial-quality encryption algorithm.