Between every pitch of a baseball game, the catcher and the pitcher communicate. Usually, it’s just through hand signals. The catcher will say what kind of pitch should come next by showing a certain number of fingers – one for a fastball, for example, two for a curve. Once the pitcher agrees with the selection, he throws the ball.
This ritual has been unchanged since baseball began – until now. Last weekend, Houston Astros pitchers and catchers used a new piece of technology to communicate, called PitchCom. Chandler Rome, Astros reporter for the Houston Chronicle, spoke with Texas Standard about how it works.
Highlights from this segment:
– PitchCom was introduced in order to speed up the game, and to combat sign stealing, including by past Astros teams.
– The catcher wears a keypad with buttons corresponding to a type of pitch and a location. When a button is pressed, the pitcher hears spoken instructions in English or Spanish.
– Up to three defensive players in the infield can also wear the receivers, so they can hear what pitch has been called.