There has been a ton of debate this week on how to improve the pace of play in baseball, with the commissioner trading barbs with the players union and the announcement that a simple hand signal will replace the traditional four-pitch intentional walk. Among the various other suggestions is an interesting one from Yankees skipper Joe Girardi.
Girardi proposes that Major League Baseball take a page from the National Football League and put earpieces in players' helmets/caps. And he makes a solid point about how this form of communication could speed up at-bats.
"Realistically you could put it in your hitters' helmets and you could say what you wanted,'' Girardi said, via the New York Post. "Then it's not a sign from me to the third-base coach and a sign to the player. Instead of catchers always going out to change signs they could do it through communication. I think you could speed the game up a lot that way. The thing about signs is that signs take time and it slows it down.''
Imagine if pitchers and catchers also could communicate via earpieces, rather than initiating multiple meetings on the mound. Of course, there's no guarantee that a hitter would remain in the batter's box while awaiting his manager's instructions or that a catcher would feel comfortable relaying signs to a pitcher within earshot of the hitter. And, of course, there is the question about the reliability of the technology. After all, there are times when even the dugout and bullpen phones go on the fritz.
Still, no idea is a bad idea in terms of generating more action and reducing the lulls -- although the players union might disagree.