MLB submits proposals to MLBPA to restrict sign theft

Major League Baseball has made a series of proposals to the players’ union regarding measures to restrict the theft of signs and the use of information during games, Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reports. It is not yet known how the MLB Players Association will respond to these proposals, whether it accepts or rejects the idea of ​​the league, or perhaps will make counter proposals with some adjustments.

One proposal is for the PitchCom system currently being tested during spring training games, as the league now offers players to continue using the system on a voluntary basis during the regular season. PitchCom is an electronic method for a catcher to communicate signals to the pitcher – the catcher inputs the desired pitch (or selection pitch, pitch, etc.) on a specialized wristband, while the pitcher wears an audio device in their hat that the pitch call told him via an automated voice. The receiver and up to three other outfielders can also wear the audio device, to ensure accuracy and communicate information around the diamond.

Ideally, PitchCom is a way to combat panel theft by simply deleting panels. The system also theoretically speeds up the game by removing the need for certain mound visits. Early reviews have varied from individual to individual, and it remains to be seen how many players (or the MLBPA as a whole) would be open to pursuing PitchCom technology over the course of the season. The voluntary nature of the use could be an obstacle, since a competitive advantage could be acquired by certain teams.

The league’s other proposals relate to the in-game use of scouting information. Under these new rules, a player at home plate could not (to use Ghiroli’s example) review information on a reconnaissance card in his helmet, for example. Additionally, team personnel would not be permitted to print and provide new information to any on-field personnel during the match, whether on the pitch or in the dugout.

The specification for the use of printed information relates to how the league has already restricted the use of certain electronic devices during a game, following the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Yet while it would seem easy enough to monitor whether or not a batter is using a “cheat sheet” during an at-bat, it would seem more difficult to completely control the flow of information between field and front-line personnel. office. staff during a game. Of course, there may never be a totally airtight way to prevent teams from finding loopholes, but putting in place straightforward rules could at least have a deterrent effect.

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