Major League Baseball (MLB) has approved a piece of technology that was tested out in experimental usage at the Single-A level last year and in big league camps during Spring Training this year.
The device is called PitchCom, and it was created by ProMystic, which typically caters to mentalists and magicians. ProMystic approached MLB with its idea for a signal communication device in 2020.
PitchCom is a wearable device that transmits signals from catcher to pitcher. The catcher wears the device on a forearm sleeve that has the device attached to it. This makes it easy for the catcher to press any of the nine buttons on the device to communicate to the pitcher. The pitcher has a receiver in his cap and the catcher has one in his helmet. In addition, PitchCom uses an encrypted channel in multiple languages.
The Associated Press reported that MLB is providing each team with three transmitters, 10 receivers and a charging case for each of the PitchCom devices. It is available in English and Spanish.
According to the Associated Press, PitchCom gives the catcher nine choices on his wristband device: “four seam high inside, curve hi middle, slider hi outside, change mid inside, sinker middle, cutter mid out, splitter low inside, knuckle lo middle, two seam low outside”.
PitchCom receivers and transmitters can only be used on the field and may not be operated during games in clubhouses, dugouts or bullpens.
The MLB is not requiring teams to use PitchCom, but it has some really great benefits. It makes the communication between pitcher and catcher more seamless and straightforward. The device makes it easier for the pitcher to “see” what the catcher is recommending. The clarity can make the game go faster.
Those who love baseball will likely remember a scandal where a team is accused of “stealing signs”. PitchCom makes it incredibly hard to “steal signs” because the information shared between the catcher and pitcher is not only on an encrypted channel, but also has tiny buttons that will be difficult to see from second base (and way too small to see from the stands).