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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Signs are archaic.

It recently occurred to me that the fuss about the Giants stealing signs from the catcher to the pitcher in 1951 culminated in a non issue.  The Giants had someone with binoculars in their center field clubhouse observe the catcher's signs and a member of the Giants bullpen would relay them to the Giant batters.

Giant Bobby Thomson hit a home run off Dodger Ralph Branca, a starter who had just entered in relief, in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the 1951 NL pennant over the Dodgers before about 15,000 empty seats in the old Polo Grounds; about 35,000 fans actually did  show up.  It was the third extra regular season game played as a best of three playoff to break a tie in wins between the two teams.

The Giants have admitted stealing the signs.  Recently deceased Giants backup catcher Sal Yvars spoke about it years ago at a Westchester Baseball Group meeting about three weeks before his story broke in a WSJ article.  After the meeting I asked Yvars if the Giants stole the signs from the Yankees during the World Series and he said they did not because there were too many reporters around.  I guess some reporters were also absent from the Thomson game.

Did Thomson receive the signs during that particular AB?  If he did it was the Dodgers own fault.  The homer came with runners on second and third and the Dodgers leading 4-2.  The defensive team expects that the runner on second can see the signs and can relay information to the batter, at least the pitch location.  Didn't the Dodgers switch to their more complex signs?  If they did, then the Giants had no advantage from their person in the clubhouse with binoculars.  If the Dodgers did not change their signs, then shame on them.  Both Thomson and Branca should know that.

1951 is 58 years ago.  What the heck are MLB teams doing using the same system today?

This is especially absurd considering that every televised game has a camera in center field doing exactly what the Giant spy was doing in 1951.  It seems impossible to keep such signs secret.  Teams can record an opponent's games, take all the time they need to decode the signs and at the very least have that knowledge available to any of their players who reach second base.

It is archaic.

Why not use wireless communication, you know, like the rest of us do?  All defensive players could be connected and aware of all that is happening.  That would eliminate:
1. catcher's signs to the pitcher; the pitching coach can call the game
2. SS & 2B getting the catcher's signs and relaying them to each other
3. coaches waving towels to OF to get them to change their defensive position
4. MEETINGS!  Just tell the damn pitcher what to do from the dugout!
5. third base coach signs.  Just tell the damn batter what to do from the dugout!
6. signs to base runners.

There has been closed circuit phone communication between the dugout and bullpen for many years.
Go wireless.  It should speed up the game.

1 comment:

LoDoKid said...

Yeah.. And think about how easy it would be to execute the hit-and-run if baserunners would wear jetpacks.