Max Scherzer on PitchCom system: ‘I think it should be illegal’

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Max Scherzer PitchCom Mets
New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer (21) walks toward the dugout after striking out New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Max Scherzer had just finished weaving yet another gem in his Hall-of-Fame career on Wednesday night against the New York Yankees at Citi Field, putting in seven innings of scoreless work while striking out six and allowing just five hits in what would eventually be a 3-2 Mets walk-off win.

Such performances have become commonplace for the now-38-year-old, who lowered his 2022 season ERA to 2.09 on his birthday in what was his 420th career start and his first taste of the Subway Series.

But there was something brand new that the three-time Cy Young Award winner experimented with against the Bronx Bombers that he never used before in his 15 years on the mound — and the reviews weren’t great.

MLB permitted use of the PitchCom this season — a wearable device that goes inside a player’s hat that allows them to communicate and translate signs without using physical signals or verbal communication in an attempt to cut down on sign stealing.

For the first time ever, it was inside Scherzer’s hat during a performance that suggests it may be something he could keep using in the future.

Not so fast.

” [Catcher Tomas] Nido really wanted me to try it,” Scherzer said after the Mets’ win. “It works. Does it help? Yes. But I also think it should be illegal. Stealing signs are a part of the game. For me, I’ve always taken pride in having a series of complex signs and having that advantage over other pitchers.”

Max Scherzer Mets Yankees
New York Mets’ Max Scherzer pitches during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the New York Yankees on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Consider this the take of a grizzled veteran who has managed to put together a Hall-of-Fame resume just fine without extra help.

But MLB’s desire to give pitchers yet another advantage likely stems from the abuse of sign-stealing capabilities devised by the Houston Astros in the 2017 controversy that saw them illegally relay signals to batters during their championship season.

There are legal ways to discover a pitcher’s tip and it has been done in the game forever.

“The fact that we’re taking this out of the game and we’re just putting in technology — now you can’t have an advantage, you can’t steal signs from second,” Scherzer said. “A pitcher can’t have an advantage without having a complex system. It’s part of baseball trying to crack somebody’s signs.

“Does it have its desired intent? … I guess, but it’s taking away a part of the game.”

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