ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays are raving about a new piece of technology to relay signals between catchers and pitchers called “PitchCom.”
“It’s taken a lot of stress off our plates and the pitchers’ plates,” Rays’ catcher Mike Zunino told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger
With the touch of a button on the catcher’s wrist, a pitch call is sent to receivers that are tucked inside the hats of the pitcher and middle infielders.
“It’s fairly simple. I push a button. I have a headset in my helmet, the pitcher has one. It just verbally tells us which pitch is coming,” Zunino said.
The system is hopefully going to improve the pace of play — shaving a few seconds as catchers wait for pitchers to get set on the mound. As Zunino pointed out, it eliminates the potential for sign-stealing.
“The last few years, there’s been a lot of paranoia with sign-stealing and stuff like that,” Zunino said. “If this can alleviate some of that, I think pitchers are on board. Nobody wants to be victimized by it.”
But not everyone was on-board with the idea at the start.
“I am excited for it. I used it a little in spring training,” Rays’ pitcher Shane McClanahan said. “I was kind of against it at first being that old-school baseball mentality. I gave it a shot, ‘man, this thing is really cool.’ I’m excited to use it.”
“I love ‘PitchCom,’” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said. “If that camera wasn’t on, I’d say something else. Look, the guys like ‘PitchCom.’ If it speeds up the game, I am 100% for it.”
And if Rays’ outfielder and clubhouse comedian Brett Phillips ever gets an unlikely opportunity to pitch again like last season.
“I’m not going to need it,” Phillips said. “When I pitch, I tell the hitter what’s coming because I am that good and he’s not going to be able to hit it. That’s a great question, appreciate it.”