You Looking at Me?
August 27, 2011 9:59 PM   Subscribe

I am a big baseball fan. I will watch every game on TV that I can regardless of the teams playing (although I am a Yankee fan and Pirates fan 2nd.) I have noticed after a player strikes out, the camera often shows them looking back at what I thought was the pitcher as if to say, "I'll show you next time" or "That junk won't fool me next time" or whatever you want to assume. Then it occurred to me that they could be looking at the Jumbotron to see the pitch.

So, are they giving the eye to the pitcher or watching the replay on the scoreboard? I know they can go to the clubhouse or video room to watch the at bat as soon as they get back to the dugout, but watching to see if the pitch was a "real" strike if it was called or to see how much they missed it by on a swinging strike is easy on the scoreboard.

I don't know any major leaguers to ask them directly. Anyone have any information on this?

(Of course, feel free to rip on the hated Yankees if you need. I can take it. Start with A.J. Burnett for easy ones. Say what you want about A-Rod or even the .300 hitting Jeter, but say anything negative about Thurman Munson or Donnie Baseball (or Roberto Clemente) and your answer should be -- but won't be -- flagged as "Noise")
posted by JohnnyGunn to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
They also show pitch velocity and type on the scoreboards and batters are usually interested in this.
posted by xmutex at 10:17 PM on August 27, 2011

I've gone to a lot of ballgames in Pittsburgh, and I don't really recall them ever replaying a pitch on the Jumbotron. They won't even show you replays of close calls sometimes, basically so the crowd doesn't flip out any more than they already are if it was a bad call for the home team.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 10:21 PM on August 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

MLB rules say that close calls--including most pitches--can't be shown in the stadium so as not to "show up" the umpires.

Having watched quite a few games (Go Rangers!) in person, it's about 50/50. If the opposing team is a particularly hated rival, the batter will usually be glaring at the pitcher. If not, or if the batter agrees with the call ("yep, should have swung"), he's looking at the video board for whatever reason.
posted by fireoyster at 12:45 AM on August 28, 2011

Mod note: comments removed - Jeter ripping considered harmful and the OP isn't the only one who gets to mark things as "noise".
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:49 AM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I believe that they're looking at pitch speed. As xmutex says, most (all?) ballparks prominently display pitch speed and type, and it's definitely something the players rely on. Earlier this season, Keith Olbermann spotted a Yankee official signaling pitch speed to players, behavior which is apparently prohibited. Brian Cashman said it was only being done because the scoreboards were down.

Which is not to say that it might not be a stare-down, now and then, but in the case you can expect a developing storyline and a retaliatory brush back. Might want to check out The Baseball Codes for more on that.
posted by meghanagain at 6:37 PM on August 28, 2011

I've watched this myself at the Skydome... Pitch type and speed is relayed to the upper right of the Jumbotron, and I've often noticed players looking up to that board to see what information is relayed, rather than a replay.
posted by smitt at 10:04 AM on August 29, 2011

I've been watching a lot of baseball of late, and I keep forgetting to look out for this. I did notice once where the hitter struck out and was clearly looking outward but not at the pitcher, so yeah, it's probably the scoreboard or something. I'd guess they're more interested in pitch speed, to see if it jives with how they perceived it, rather than the reported pitch type, which probably isn't all that reliable, and the hitter's probably at least able to guess that part anyway.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:12 AM on August 31, 2011

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