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Monday, September 12, 2022

How Guardians catcher Hedges hacked PitchCom to pump up his pitchers

“My brain is quite obsessive about the catching position,” Hedges said. “It’s tough to turn my brain off. My brain would just start spinning, and I would have all these ideas.”

Even while watching TV or playing video games at his apartment in early April, his thoughts wandered to hacking PitchCom. Could it be altered to pick up the game pace? The default version required pressing two buttons: one for pitch type and one for location. The process could take a couple of seconds to relay the info. If the pitcher shakes off a couple of times, Hedges found it could take 10 seconds to find a pitch they agreed on.

He also wondered if there was a way to deliver psychological boosts to his pitchers during the game. What if he could simulate a mini-mound visit without using any of the allotted five?

“You’ve never been able to talk to your pitcher from behind home plate,” Hedges said. “I’m like, ‘What if we can take advantage of talking to the pitcher in a way without using a mound visit? Whether that’s positive reinforcement - or even negative, if you need it.”

He began to bounce ideas off the coaching staff and pitchers. While he liked that he no longer had to worry about runners on second stealing signs, he missed the emphasis he could add when he placed his fingers down for an old-fashioned pitch call. He wanted to add a human element to the new system.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 12, 2022 at 12:35 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pitchcom

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   1. FernandoPoplar Posted: September 22, 2022 at 01:45 PM (#6097518)
Do you have trouble turning your brain off? You’re not alone. That’s why Hedges says birth control pills can feel like a “constant troll” on her brain. It just feels like you’re always on the lookout for the pill and also there you can check the webpage to check brain on birth control there. Thank you!
   2. ReggieThomasLives Posted: September 22, 2022 at 02:02 PM (#6097521)
Is Hedges now identifying as female? That’s fine and all but I don’t think it means she needs birth control pills..
   3. Cris E Posted: September 22, 2022 at 06:46 PM (#6097552)
Does the league have anything to say about this? I'm all for letting teams use their 1 second pitch sounds for whatever they want, but if there's a an entire extra vocabulary in there it might start messing with mound visits. Maybe tell teams they can have 16 or 128 slots and use them how they will, but once a game the opposing team can remove a machine from play. (These have to be locally stored files, right? More to the point, did they come with doco or is there some huge underground pitchcom hacking community somewhere out in the nether regions of the internet?)
   4. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: September 22, 2022 at 10:01 PM (#6097578)
Does the league have anything to say about this? I'm all for letting teams use their 1 second pitch sounds for whatever they want, but if there's a an entire extra vocabulary in there it might start messing with mound visits. Maybe tell teams they can have 16 or 128 slots and use them how they will, but once a game the opposing team can remove a machine from play. (These have to be locally stored files, right? More to the point, did they come with doco or is there some huge underground pitchcom hacking community somewhere out in the nether regions of the internet?)

no; that's ridiculous.


what hedges is doing is a good thing. the answer isn't shutting him down for being creative and smart and productive; the answer is for everyone else to catch the #### up.
   5. Greg Pope Posted: September 23, 2022 at 08:47 AM (#6097609)
what hedges is doing is a good thing. the answer isn't shutting him down for being creative and smart and productive; the answer is for everyone else to catch the #### up.

Yeah, no kidding. If this reduces the need for mound visits, that's a good thing. Plus, they're limited to 1 second (at least for now). It's not like they're going to put in strategy sessions or anything. Sure, they'll probably come up with codes or something. Like instead of having a mound meeting where they say "Don't give this guy anything to hit. It's OK to walk him but maybe he'll swing at some outside pitches", there's a one second snippet where they say "goose" and the pitcher knows what that means. No actual advantage, just eliminates a mound visit. That's good.

As for the actual hacking, I'm guessing it's something simple where there are sound files stored on the system and when the catcher hits button 1 it plays "1.mp3" or something similar. So they replaced 1.mp3 with a new file with the catcher's voice.
   6. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: September 23, 2022 at 10:25 AM (#6097623)
Is Hedges now identifying as female? That’s fine and all but I don’t think it means she needs birth control pills.

Probably just a masking agent for steroids.
   7. Cris E Posted: September 23, 2022 at 12:33 PM (#6097639)
I'm all for it, but these machines don't seem all that robust to begin with. I'm not sure about other teams, but at least once a week during Twins games there's a pause in the action while a pitchcom is swapped out for battery or reception problems. Adding in hacks should probably be left as a team-owned "you break it you bought it" risk. On the whole I'm with those who support playing around with these. As long as you're dealing with very short sound files you're not going to be stashing full scouting reports or live coaching so do what you want. It's a chance to differentiate between teams that could move things along or improve performance.

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