Seattle Mariners catcher Tom Murphy wears a wrist-worn device used...

Seattle Mariners catcher Tom Murphy wears a wrist-worn device used to call pitches as he catches a ball during the sixth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Tuesday, March 29, 2022, in Peoria, Ariz. The MLB is experimenting with the PitchCom system where the catcher enters information on a wrist band with nine buttons which is transmitted to the pitcher to call a pitch. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) Credit: AP/Charlie Riedel

The image ended up being one of the hallmarks of a disappointing Mets season: Chris Bassitt, standing on the mound in the final game of the NL Wild Card Series, looking perplexed while holding a hand to his ear. There were signals coming to his PitchCom — the auditory device stashed in his cap that’s supposed to tell him the pitch call — but he couldn’t hear it over the postseason din at Citi Field.

“What pitch?” he was seen mouthing to Tomas Nido. (Suffice to say, Bassitt’s evening didn’t go that great.)

As it turns out, Bassitt wasn’t singular in his struggles. The Padres’ Mike Clevinger had the same issue in the NLDS at the infamously loud Dodger Stadium, and, after scuffling, immediately gave up an RBI double. And the Yankees, no strangers to rowdy atmospheres themselves, had a plan in place for the ALDS. When the digital fails, the Yankees are ready to go analog.

“We had a PitchCom failure in Texas,” Gerrit Cole said Monday, a day before a sterling Game 1 start against the Guardians that showed no apparent issues with the device. “Worked the multiple signs and the regular signs. That was a good experience. I missed the PitchCom call for the first time in Toronto in a loud moment with — it was either runner on first and second or runner on first. So experiencing those, the failure of the PitchCom and the failure of myself to not correctly hear the pitch called, we’ll just have to be vigilant in those situations and just be prepared to adapt.”

At first blush, that seems completely logical. When technology is compromised by outside factors, it makes sense to go back to the way things have been done for more than a century. It’s not as if PitchCom was created and catchers forgot how to signal, and this is just the first postseason to feature the device.

But potential failures actually go deeper than that: PitchCom was introduced to prevent signal-stealing, and the Yankees — the high-profile victims of postseason cheating and proven former sign-stealers themselves — have every reason to be wary of any glitches. The fact that baseball’s biggest stage is also its loudest means that (1) cheating could reap big rewards and (2) the thing meant to curb cheating doesn’t work as well as it otherwise would. It’s a suboptimal combination.

Catcher Jose Trevino said the staff “addressed it.”

“We have a different set of signs if things get too loud, but we’re going to see what we have, especially the first inning, check out how it is and go from there,” he said.

For one thing, one of the favorites to win the World Series — and potentially a pretty big future worry for the Yankees — has done a good job of using noise to their advantage. Dodger Stadium, with its four tiers and 56,000-person capacity, is the largest, and likely loudest, venue in Major League Baseball. Visiting pitchers often had issues understanding their PitchCom devices when in Los Angeles, and that was just fine by manager Dave Roberts.

“Sometimes it gets a little muddled at times,” Padres catcher Austin Nola acknowledged. “I haven’t had many issues with it. I know with the crowd noise being loud, it can be probably hard to hear some of the longer — curveball, slider, probably gets a little harder to hear that. I like it, though.”

As for his own guys, Roberts doesn’t mind turning up the dial to a proverbial 11. He said previously this season that the noise actually is an advantage.

“We’re going to have that thing turned up pretty high,” he said. “I don’t think it will have an impact [on us], but it could. I think that we have the five or six mound visits that if it has to be because of communication and we have to use a visit for that, it would be certainly unfortunate.”

But despite the din at Yankee Stadium, everything seemed to work OK, at least during Game 1. Jonathan Loaisiga, who pitched in a high-leverage relief situation in the seventh, said it wasn’t a problem. And, like any good Yankee with a decent memory, he’s more worried about opponents getting a leg up.

“I haven’t had any issues,” he said via interpreter Wednesday. “And at the same time, I think it’s really important for us. For me specifically, it’s kind of one of those things that help you to concentrate on what you’re doing, especially if you have runners on second base. You don’t want guys looking at our signs or passing on our sign.”

And it turns out, PitchCom has other uses, too. After the Guardians’ Game 1 loss, leftfielder Steven Kwan told reporters that he actually bumped up the volume so he couldn’t hear all the jeers.

The Bleacher Creatures need not worry, though. If Bassitt and Clevinger’s misadventures are any indication, Kwan heard them just fine.

More Yankees headlines