Baseball uses signs to get game time edge

This year the varsity baseball team is doing something new. It doesn’t directly have to do with hitting, pitching or fielding, but it has everything to do with communication.

New Head Coach Matt LaCour has brought a sophisticated system of signs to the Wolverine program.
“Baseball is a game of signs,” LaCour said. “Teams, including us, consistently try and ‘pick’ the other teams’ signs to give themselves an advantage.”

“We have a number of signs, pickoffs and defensive plays and we are getting better each day in executing them” Eric Shultz ’08 said. “From day one, the coaching staff has really worked hard to make the transition as easy as possible.”

The signs allow LaCour to communicate with his players without leaving the dugout or shouting his strategy so every player, coach and spectator could hear.

 These signs range from anything to a tap on the nose to a wipe of the arm.

“Our signs can be equated to what a normal college would be running,” LaCour said.

It was not easy at first for the team to grasp this new concept and system. However, LaCour believes it’s coming along nicely.

“They’re more complicated by far because there are more of them,” Nick Meerson ’08 said of the new signs.

“Our signs are somewhat complicated at the beginning, but the players all have a grasp on them now,” LaCour said. “The transition with the signs was not unlike any other team I have coached that is learning a new system.  These players will need to learn new signs for as long as they play our game.”

When attending games, it’s not uncommon to see LaCour or his players touching themselves on various body parts during a key situation in the game.

Middle infielders Cole Baker ’07 and Matty Tellem ’07, along with catcher Sam Katz ’09, all use signs to tell the rest of the team how to set up or to tell the pitcher the situation. Most of the signs come from Coach Maloney at third base, but Katz will give signs when there are runners on first and third bases.

Tellem and Baker usually give the sign to pick off a runner at second base, Meerson said.

Shultz believes that the signs help them “stay competetive the rest of the year and put ourselves in the position of winning each game.”