Every baseball broadcaster should invest in a stopwatch.
A reliable stopwatch allows you to paint a clearer picture in the mind of the listener about that night’s stolen base possibilities.
Whether you’ve seen it on television, or noticed it during a game you were actually broadcasting, you have probably witnessed a first base or third base coach using a stopwatch.
Scouts and coaches utilize stopwatches for several measurements, but in the case of the first base and third base coaches, they’re using a stopwatch to time how fast the opposing pitcher delivers the ball to home plate from the stretch or “set” position.
The industry standard used by talent evaluators is 1.3 seconds from when the pitcher begins his motion to when the ball reaches the catcher’s glove. The slightest deviation from this number makes an enormous difference in the success, or lack thereof, in the opposition’s running game.
A delivery that is just one-tenth of a second longer (1.4) puts greater pressure on the catcher to make a perfect throw, and is usually viewed as a “green light” for the offensive team. Likewise, a delivery that is just one-tenth of a second quicker (1.2) might be enough to stop the offensive team from trying to steal bases in the first place. 1.3 seconds is considered the magic number, because it gives the catcher an honest chance of throwing out a runner with above-average speed.