- The device allows players to receive (but not send) information from the coaching staff.
- All 9 players wear the device to enhance the pace of play and prevent opposing players from stealing signs or info.
- Several designs of the device are available to teams, one of which is an earpiece.
Several college baseball teams have debuted a new pitch-signaling wearable device. The device, which resembles a watch, is intended to be worn on a player’s glove hand and allows them to receive instructions from the coaching staff. Communication is one-way, meaning players can receive but not send information. The devices were approved for game use by the NCAA last year, CBS Sports reports.
Sports broadcaster Max Herz took to Twitter to dive into further detail on the devices. Herz explained that catchers no longer provide informational signs as all 9 players wear a device, and that the purpose of the device is to both enhance the pace of play and prevent opposing players from stealing signs/info.
Several designs of the pitch-signaling device are available to teams, one of which is an earpiece. The NCAA clarified in their initial press release regarding the matter: "Examples of what could be implemented next season include teams being allowed to use an electronic display board from the dugout that shows a numerical code to call pitches and/or defensive plays. Teams also can use a one-way in-ear communication device that would be limited for use from the dugout to the catcher."
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MLB teams have long been paranoid about sign-stealing, a concern which was exacerbated by the Houston Astros recent sign-stealing scandal. The MLB can be expected to closely monitor how the devices impact play at the collegiate level as they present potential for use in the big leagues.
Now that a precedent has been set, sports leagues and organizations beyond baseball are likely to begin implementing the use of wearable devices in play.