Major League Baseball (MLB) officials are looking at possible alternatives to avoid sign-stealing after the latest scandal involving the Houston Astros broke out. MLB is deliberating an on-field technology for communicating pitch calls and plans to start lobbying feedback from players this spring training. Reports suggest that the commissioner’s office is in the process of developing a prototype device to encode communication between pitcher-catcher including a wearable random-number generator and lights in the mound.
https://t.co/98URaeSWue— Roy Bellamy (@roybelly) January 6, 2020
Major League Baseball is considering a range of solutions to prevent sign stealing, including wearable technology and an in-mound lighting system.
The paranoia regarding sign-stealing exists way before the Houston Astros scandal alleged trashcan usage in 2017. The Houston Astros’ alleged sign-stealing system was as blatant as it was uncomplicated. Someone in a dugout with access to the game feed would bang on a trashcan to signify an off-speed pitch. Signs have become complicated over the years, with the Washington Nationals using a rotating sequence of frequently changing multiple signs in their World Series game against the Astros.
According to American media reports, a league source adds consideration for any pitch-calling technology is the ability to accommodate coaches dictating pitches from the dugout could be a norm in the foreseeable future. Conversation with the commissioner's office regarding the development of technology to prevent sign stealing and has been in motion for more than a year now. MLB had implemented stringent rules to avoid video feeds around ballparks in February last year, with many acknowledging that a long-term fix for sign stealing would likely require overhauling the old-fashioned methods of calling the game.
MLB is examining the Houston Astros for their alleged sign-stealing scandal and are looking to dole out punishments intended to deter sign stealers further. One of the devices in progress is a wearable random-number that links to which sign in a sequence is relevant. It would preserve the existing dynamic of a catcher putting down a warning for interpretation by the pitcher, but cover it with a level of secure encryption that would be practically impossible to decipher even with a committed software package.
Alternatively, in-ground lights on the mound could substitute the finger system. The catchers would have access to a control pad that corresponds to a lighting panel visible only to the pitcher like a specific button for a particular light sequence for a certain pitch. With all these suggestions, it would be prudent to see how the changes would affect the pace of play. MLB hopes to eliminate the requirement of complicates sign sequences despite concerns around connectivity and the operation of various systems smoothly.