Playing baseball in empty stadiums that would normally be filled with non-stop chanting and noise-making means hearing virtually everything. You can hear the coaches complain about the umpires, the players’ chatter, and as Chunichi Dragons manager Tsuyoshi Yoda and his Yakult Swallows counterpart Shingo Takatsu discovered this weekend at Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, the broadcasters.
The Nikkan Sports reported Sunday that prior to the start of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game, Yoda came out for a word with home plate umpire Tetsuya Shimada, who then approached the Swallows bench for a word with Takatsu, and pointed up at the broadcast booths as they spoke.
“From the broadcast booth could be heard ‘The catcher is setting up inside,'” manager Yoda said, according to a Dragons official.
The broadcast booths at the small park are not far from home plate and their voices could be heard on the field without fans making the ubiquitous noise.
Central League administrator Kazuhide Kinefuchi said according to the Dragons, “We have to look out for this at every park and correct it immediately.
Takatsu appeared to hear it as well, the umps said.
“He could hear something. The pitch locations or something like it.”
Until about 10 years ago, NPB had a similar issue. Teams used the big screens at the ballpark to show replays of their player’s swings when the home team was batting. Every fair or foul ball would be replayed, with the result that the home team batters could see where the opposing catchers were setting up.
Former Fighters pitcher Carlos Mirabal said those two things are apples and oranges.
“(It being on the screen) to me doesn’t matter, because the players would always go in the training room and ask someone who was watching the game where the pitch was or any other question,” Mirabal said.
“If it’s right before the pitcher throws the pitch, then that’s no good.”