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Technology Changed Baseball This Season In One Way and Opinions are Mixed

Sure, the new PitchCom system helps speed up games, but it's also causing other changes in the way baseball is played.

Major League Baseball has implemented a new system this season designed to quicken the pace of the game, with the added benefit of putting a stop to sign-stealing. Called PitchCom, it's a wireless communication system that allows the catcher to request pitches without need for hand signals. But the technology has added strange new twists to the game, and some people aren't sure yet what to think about it.

Posted to TikTok by user @madethecutyoutube, the below video shows one quirky play in a Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees game from June that we would not have seen before the new technology was implemented.

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"I honestly don't care," writes commenter @ryanadverderada. "Overall it helps speed up the game. As long as I’m not seeing absurd delays, I couldn’t care less."

Before the introduction of PitchCom, catchers would ask for pitches using finger gestures. This method has proven to be vulnerable to stealing of those signs, when a teammate of the batter would see the signals and find a way to relay them to the batter. The delays in the games would occur when the catcher would visit the pitcher's mound to change signals, often with a runner on second base, where it's easy for the runner to see the finger gestures the catcher is using.

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"We all love it," Yankees reliever Michael King told ESPN. "We actually want the catchers to give us signs faster. We're thinking about it, like after he throws the ball back to me, I'd rather know it right then. It gives you time to think about the pitch and throw it with conviction. I come set knowing that I have no doubt in my mind that the catcher is thinking something differently than me."

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Alek Manoah said in the same ESPN story that he plans to never use PitchCom.

"Baseball is baseball, man," Manoah said. "Some things are good to be technological about, but I'm not here to make the game quicker. I'm here to win games. I'm not gonna sit here and be all confused about a PitchCom or have hitters step out of the box every two seconds because the pace is too fast."

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