Timestamp: MLB gives OK for electronic calls

NEW YORK (AP) – In a step that completes a tradition of more than 150 years, the Major League Baseball has approved the use of an electronic device for catchers to signal fields to rule out character theft and speed games.

Since the beginning of baseball in the 19th century, catchers have used their fingers to indicate the type of field and its estimated location.

The 21st century has seen an increase in the number of videos on football pitches, the theft of signs – and concerns about how teams have tried to pick up signals. The Houston Astros have been punished for using a camera and knocking into a trash can to warn those who hit, that they are falling at the 2017 World Series.

“This basically eliminates the need to create a sign system for the catcher who drops the marks,” MLB Chief Operating and Strategic Director Chris Marinok said on Tuesday. “You literally just push a button and it passes to the pitcher. And what we’ve seen so far, it really improves the pace of the game. “

Some teams tested the system at spring training sessions, among those who said they liked what they saw, manager Tony La Rousse of the Chicago White Sox and Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees.

Yankee hunter Kyle Higashioka used it several times this spring training session, including Tuesday with pitcher Michael King vs. Detroit in the last show game in New York.

“There are still some things we need to work on, but I mean, a secure system is always just giving signs. So it’s always there when we need it. We’re just working out all the flaws now. When we encounter stumbling blocks in a game, we can always drop signs. I’m not too worried about it, “he said.

“I like it. At first I gave the signs to the King today because I didn’t have a chance to talk to him about it, so I started to break everything. So I just decided to give the signs and it worked,” he said.

MLB provides each team with three transmitters, 10 receivers and a charger 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 used at any one time,” MLB wrote in a five-page memorandum Tuesday to CEOs, assistant CEOs, managers and equipment managers, a copy of which was received by The Associated. Press.

The catcher has nine options on his bracelet: “four seams top inside, curved middle, slider hello outside, change middle inside, middle sinker, cutter in the middle, cutter low inside, divider low inside, ring in the middle, two seams low outside.”

A thin strip tucked inside the cap allows you to hear the sound at an adjustable level, which is supposed to be used by pitchers, second bases, short stops and central field participants.

“When changing the jug, the manager must provide a receiver for the replaced jug,” the note said.

Receivers and transmitters may only be used on the field and may not be used during games in clubs, dugouts or bullpen.

“Signals transmitted through PitchCom can only be given by a catcher in the game. You can’t send signals from the dugout, bullpen, another player in the field or from any other place, ”the note reads. “Clubs are responsible for their PitchCom devices. Any club that loses a transmitter or receiver will charge a replacement fee of $ 5,000 per unit. ”

Marinak said about half of the 30 MLB clubs have expressed interest.

“I’m not sure every team will use it,” Marinak said during the third annual demonstration of innovation and the participation of MLB supporters. “I think it’s kind of a personal preference.”

Union leader Tony Clark noted that the devices are optional.

“It was important to give players the flexibility to use – or not use – technology of their own accord,” the former first-base all-star said in a statement. it’s them. “

Players can no longer watch in-game video replays on the club’s TV, but can only watch videos on the iPad, which is controlled by the MLB office. The video will only be updated at the end of each half, and players may return and play, but may not see content during the paving.

“Players do not have access to any technology that exceeds what we offer in terms of in-game video,” said Marinok. “We also monitor all traffic transfers to understand what content is being delivered to the iPad.”

A new system of referees who have microphones to explain video reviews to fans began with an exhibition game at Dodger Stadium on Monday night. MLB is also now shooting videos from 104 of the 120 lower league football pitches

An automated system of ball and kick computer judges will be used in 10 parks Triple-A West, Charlotte in Triple-A East and Low-A Southeast. MLB intends to illustrate the calls on the stadium scoreboard.

The clock for the pitch will be used at all the lower league stadiums, probably it will be a prelude to their installation on the major league football pitches in 2023.

MLB demonstrated its new 1,400-square-foot operations center in central Manhattan, which opened just as COVID-19 hit in 2020, and replaced a 900-square-foot facility in Soho that had been in use since 2014.

There are 90 46-inch professional monitors and 60 24-inch touchscreen monitors in the 31 x 29-foot room, with three tables with six screens behind them for executives and administrators, followed by two more rows of technicians.

According to Chris Zagorski, vice president of operations and playback technology, MLB accepts 18 cameras from each football field that showcase 60 frames per second plus up to four high-speed cameras at 360-480 frames per second.

San Francisco has a backup playback center in case of a power outage in New York. For special games such as Dyersville, Iowa, Williamsport, Pennsylvania and London, a rehearsal room has been set up on site.

Marinok said fans who use the MLB Ballpark app to enter stadiums by e-ticket have grown from 3% in 2017 to 19% in 2019 to 56% in 2021.

MLB also said that the earliest advertising helmets will begin appearing in the 2022 postseason. Last month, players agreed to advertise uniforms and helmets, and knitwear advertising will begin no earlier than 2023.


Freelance AP author Mark Diedler contributed to this report.


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