Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How Do Pitchers See the Catcher’s Signals?

I like to think I have pretty good eyesight. I can read things. I can see street signs from the car. I can read posters from across the room. I can see. I don’t know if I could read catcher signals though.

60’-6” is about twenty paces. From that far, I could probably tell how many fingers a person is holding up. If you took twenty steps, and held up two fingers, I bet I could see it. But, what about when you crouch down and hold your fingers in front of you? The lack of contrast is a bit tougher. Then, put your fingers between your legs. The shadows certainly don’t help anything. Then, and this is the kicker, start flashing different signals. That’s the part that amazes me.

I can see figuring out the signals. I might be able to tell one finger from two fingers at 20 paces, even with the contrast and the shadows. But, when you start wiggling them? Come on. That’s just not fair. Even with the French manicures some catchers seem to give themselves, I’d have some trouble. That can’t be easy. But, every team and every catcher still does it. It’s a little strange really.

Can you imagine a football team calling in a play with something so basic, but easy to misread? I can just se BB getting Tom Brady’s attention, cupping his hand, and flicking up a finger really quick. Wouldn’t he at least have two other coaches doing the same thing with different signals to try and confuse? Shouldn’t the first baseman also be holding up a finger, so at least people can wonder which signal is the right one? Sometimes when a runner is on second base, they change up the signals so the runner can’t steal them…from 127 feet away. Where do these guys get their eyes? But, sometimes a catcher will use hand signals in that situation, much like a base coach would. A tap of the shoulder, then the knee, and so on. Why not use those signals all the time? They’d be much easier for the pitcher to see. Maybe that would cut down on cross-ups?

Or maybe I can’t see as well as I think I can.

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