“Breaker 19, Go Ahead With That Curve Ball”

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John L. Braese

INDIANAPOLIS – Beginning next season, baseball catchers around eastern Oregon will include batteries in their equipment bag along with shin guards and a catcher’s mask.

The National Federation of State High School Associations approved a rule on Thursday, July 6 to allow one-way communication devices between a coach in the dugout and the catcher beginning in 2024. Communication using devices between coaches and other players remains prohibited and remains not allowed with batters.

“This change is consistent with the growth of the game and is indicative of a measured and responsible approach to enable technology into our level of competition,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS Director of Sports and Educational Services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee. “The committee has made these changes to maintain the balance between offense and defense; increase the pace of play; and will responsibly manage technology so there is no advantaged gained by schools that have more available resources than some of their contemporaries. Creating a level playing field is paramount to education-based athletics.”

The national governing body also made it clear umpires will not be able to call a game a forfeit due fan behavior. Umpires will only have authority over players, coaches and team/bench personnel and fan behavior will be handled by “game administration” under the new guidelines.

“This change is a complementary rule to support schools’ game management role in addressing unacceptable behavior and will allow the umpire to focus on the action and players on the field,” Hopkins said.

Before you go! If you would like to support continuing and expanded high school sports coverage in eastern Oregon for as little as $1 a month click below! Thank you!