Mets’ Max Scherzer: PitchCom ‘should be illegal’

After a recent cross-up with his catcher, Mets right-hander Max Scherzer was encouraged to use PitchCom, a wireless communication device that MLB allowed for the first time this season. But after using it for the first time Wednesday in New York, Scherzer thinks the technology should be outlawed.

“Here’s what I’ll say about PitchCom: It works,” Scherzer said after leading the Mets to a 3-2 victory and a series sweep over the Yankees. “Does it help? Yeah. But I also think it should be illegal.”

PitchCom allows a catcher to send pitch signals to his pitcher and two other players on the field by pressing buttons on a wearable device instead of the traditional method for communicating signals, usually done with some combination of flashing fingers. The new technology is designed to deter opposing teams from stealing those traditional signs.

Sign-stealing has long been a part of baseball’s history, and it is not prohibited in the game’s rule book. But the idea reached new levels in 2017 and ’18 during the Astros sign-stealing scandal. Since then, MLB outlawed the use of technology to help steal signs, including video feeds and iPads that can relay information to the dugout.

Those rules don’t keep a runner on second base from trying to steal signs. But PitchCom does.

“Stealing signs is part of the game,” Scherzer said. “For me, I’ve always taken pride in having a complex system of signs and having that advantage over other pitchers. So the fact that we’re taking this out of the game and we’re just putting in technology, now you can’t steal signs on second. That’s part of baseball, trying to crack somebody’s signs.”

Scherzer was encouraged to use the new tech by Mets catcher Tomás Nido after the two miscommunicated signs in a recent start. And Scherzer said he may keep using the technology.

“It works,” Scherzer said, “but it’s taking away a part of the game.”

(Photo: Wendell Cruz / USA Today Sports)

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