Slow Play

July 11, 2013
By

Does it bother you how long a baseball game lasts these days? The College World Series finals this year is a prime example. UCLA and Mississippi State were taking two to three minutes between pitches because each coach was trying to outfox the other. The UCLA catcher would not call a pitch until his coach had tried to pick up the sign from the Mississippi State coach to his batter. The umpires were going right along with these delays. Major League managers these days seem to be calling more and more pitches from the bench instead of allowing the catcher and pitcher to decide what to throw. Most of the signs given are fake and only after an indicator sign is given is the real sign flashed either to a batter, base runner, or catcher. The basic signs like steal a base or hit and run are almost universal for all players, but it is that indicator sign that is the real signal to do something. For example–skin on skin–is usually the steal sign, but what the coach touches or flashes before this tells the runner what to do. A good decoy is for the batter or runner to stare a long time after he has been given the real sign so as to confuse the other team who are trying to steal the sign. Teams also change their own signs from one inning to the next. It gets so confusing at times that neither the coach or player are sure what is the real thing.

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