January 22, 2017
Players Prefer Presentation
Would You Like to Play a Game of Telephone?
Last week, it was reported by Teddy Cahill at Baseball America that the American Baseball Coaches Association’s committee on pace of play was considering putting a digital headset in catchers’ helmets, similar to those used by NFL quarterbacks, so coaches could more quickly relay play calls in-game.
Cahill noted in his piece:
The proposal raises a lot of interesting questions about the effect such technology would have on the development of college catchers as game-callers, the real time savings to be had, and whether this is even a solution to the right problem. Those are good, worthwhile questions, but the whole debate got me thinking about another: assuming such a change made its way through the college game and to the pros, what would they talk about anyway?
Joe Maddon and David Ross
ROSS: Okay, Joe, it's Harrison next, what do you want do?
MADDON: If I put you in left and move Zo to sec-
ROSS: It’s only the second inning, so—look, I’m just gonna say fastball?
MADDON: Then Bryant can play right and we could put Javy at-
ROSS: Ok, the fastball was a little outside...I don't wanna double up, slider or change?
MADDON: And then I'll take Javy out and bring in say… Strop in a double-swit-
ROSS: So sinker? Sinker.
MADDON: And then—
ROSS: Oh, screw it.
MADDON: Wait, what happ-
FRANCONA: Alright, here we go. Here we go. Ready, Yan?
GOMES: You just put in new chew, didn’t you? You put in a new wad of that chew. Right before we need to talk. Right when the headset turns on.
FRANCONA: So I’m thinking—Yan?
GOMES: Do you have any idea how that sounds in the headset? Awful. Oh god, I can’t look. I can’t look at you while you’re chewing that stuff. And then you spit out th— (smack smack smack) DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE THAT SMACKING SOUND?
BENCH COACH: Look, Yan, just keep your focus on the field.
GOMES: YOU TRY KEEPING YOUR FOCUS ON THE FIELD WITH THAT IN YOUR EAR. SMACK SMACK SMACK. ALWAYS WITH THE SMACK SMACK SMACK.
SCHWARBER: Wait is that— are those seeds in— is that gum?
POSEY: Russell… Russell…
BOCHY: Oh no.
POSEY: Russell. Like Bertrand Russell. You know, I think Bertrand Russell would have liked baseball.
BOCHY: Buster, I don’t think now is the—
POSEY: He once said, “Both in thought and in feeling, even though time be real, to realise the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.” Not a fan of a pitch clock, Bertrand. I bet he—
BOCHY: Buster, can we just—
POSEY: Fine, fine. Here we go. Hey Bum, did I ever tell you…
… Well, that could have gone better.
STREET: He’s still not using the headset, huh?
PEREZ: He couldn’t have said he wanted another baserunner, right?
STREET: I guess we should just...
STREET: Look, I really don’t think we should let them score…
VALBUENA: [JOYFUL NOISES, TEARING CLOTHES]
ROENICKE: Realllly should use that headset, Mike.