What is Sign Stealing in Baseball and Softball?
If you have ever witnessed a baseball game, especially a game having Houston Astros then you might have witnessed some weird signs portrayed by the defensive team. You may have wondered what is wrong with them and what are those signs however, in actual they are communication with each other. Sign Stealing is decoding signs of the opposing team during the game. In this way, they get an idea of what will be the next move of the pitcher in the game. It is as old as baseball is however, it was not named back in the 1800s. Here is a breakdown of sign stealing.
What are Signs in Baseball and Softball?
Some baseball fans notice everything when they are witnessing a baseball game. They often notice coaches and catchers doing weird signs during the game. These are the signs baseball teams use to communicate with each other in the game so that other teams don’t know what are they talking about. But some teams work hard on reading these signs so that they come to know about their next move.
What are signs in baseball and softball? Some umpires use signs like touching their belt, rubbing their chest, tapping their cheeks, and rest of other weird yet meaningful signs used in baseball. These signs are mainly used so that the pitchers know whether they should steal a base, do a bunt or run. These signs are consciously caught by the catcher who keeps a keen eye on the dugout.
What are Examples of Signs in Baseball and Softball?
Each baseball team practices different baseball signs in the game so that no one gets a single clue about them. What are the examples of signs in baseball and softball? We can understand this through examples let’s say a coach touches his hat to signal his player to take the pitch and if the coach wants the baserunner to double steal the base, he would simply touch his ears. Other examples would be that they might cough or sneeze to signal the pitchers as well. One must know that with each game baseball teams try to complicate their moves so that it becomes more difficult for opponents to guess.
How Does Legal Sign Stealing Work During a Game?
If you are caught while sign stealing it is illegal in baseball. It depends on the team they must hide their signs from getting caught. Not every signal in the game is illegal as long as you are doing it openly. How does legal sign stealing work during a game? We can understand this through an example that consider there is a game between Houston Astros and New York Yankees now Astros are on the defensive. The catcher of the Yankees team is preparing to catch a high-pitched ball now the Astros team member alert his hitter about the pitch.
What Does a Team Need to Do to Protect their Signs?
It depends on the teams to protect their signs by using multiple techniques. Teams not only critically think about the signs but they work hard on these strategies too. What does a team need to do to protect their signs? Let’s have a look.
- Firstly, as explained earlier they tend to make their signs as difficult as possible. They prefer signs near to normal in life like sneezing etc.
- In case they have used a sign for a pitch in the first inning the coach would most likely change the signs for the next innings. In this way the signs get complicated.
- The teams keep a keen eye on the opposing team even if they are existing in the dugout.
What Did the Houston Astros Do in 2017 that Took Sign-Stealing to a New Level?
No one knew that sign stealing could go to the next level in 2017 because whatever happened that year was shocking for almost everyone. What did the Houston Astros do in 2017 that took sign-stealing to a new level? Houston Astros put a camera on the catcher in the center field and they could see what was about to happen in the dugout through the video replay room. However, they were caught when they came to hear the sound of a trash can hitting the pitcher. The managers of both teams were suspended and the fine was charged.
What was the Problem with what the Houston Astros Do?
As long as one is figuring out what opponents are doing through infield baseball acts it is considered legal but as soon as some external devices are used it is said to be an illegal act. What was the problem with what the Houston Astros Do? Houston Astros not only used an external device, a camera but they tried to hide it due to which games were prolonged.
Did Any Other Team Do Anything Similar?
Using a camera seems way too obvious if it gets caught but teams have tried to use different options instead of an obvious one. Did any other team do anything similar? This one-time Boston Red Sox used an Apple watch to cheat during the game.
Have the Houston Astros Done Any Other Type of Cheating?
After Houston Astros were once caught it seemed that they were now conscious. But have the Houston Astros done any other type of cheating? Houston Astros were rumoured to use buzzers in 2019 although it was just a rumour.
Can Technology Help Limit Sign Stealing During Games?
Since sign stealing was becoming a usual thing in baseball the baseball management had to do something to discourage it. Can technology help limit sign-stealing during games? Yes, and many times an electronic tracker is used to track sign stealing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a sign in baseball?
Sign-in baseball is used during the games when of course verbal communication is not possible. Teams use different signs to signal their team members in the game.
What is Pitch Com and how does it work?
Pitch Com is a device used in baseball and softball. This device gives signals to the pitcher to pitch in the field.
Why do pitchers look inside their hats?
Pitchers majorly look inside the hat to hear the electronic voice.
The Bottom Line on Sign Stealing in Baseball and Softball
On the last note, as we know in every game cheating is a common factor, stealing signs electronically is cheating in baseball however, if a person steals a sign and gets caught then it is considered illegal. To avoid sign-stealing teams use different strategies and techniques to enhance their signs.
Who is Wesley?
Hello, I am Wesley. I own the website NISR. I have a team of experts who work under me, and we are combinedly striving to provide you with the best baseball information we can. My goal is to inform and educate every baseball fan who wants to be a part of a baseball game. My website contains many articles based on baseball, and you can benefit from each one of them.