John Lackey: Announcing Balls, Strikes Over PA System ‘A Bad Idea’


John LackeyFORT MYERS, Fla. — John Lackey hopes Tuesday’s “Call the count” gimmick at JetBlue Park doesn’t go beyond spring training.

The Red Sox tried something new by having the public address announcer announce each pitch — “ball” or “strike” — during the club’s spring training game against the Miami Marlins. The whole concept was rather unique, and Lackey wasn’t a big fan.

“That’s a bad idea,” Lackey said laughing. “Whoever did that hasn’t been between the lines.”

The experiment was conducted to see if it could enhance the baseball experience, especially with the count playing such an integral part in how pitchers and hitters, alike, approach the game. Red Sox vice president Dr. Charles Steinberg said before Tuesday’s game that he was unsure if the experiment would continue beyond one game, but Lackey clearly is among those who hope the trial run doesn’t materialize into anything permanent.

“For me, it’s not that big a deal because I’m not that worried about throwing strikes,” Lackey said. “But I could foresee a situation, like if there’s somebody that’s struggling throwing strikes, you’re just pretty much beating the guy over the head. (The pitcher) realized it was a ball. He doesn’t want to hear it again. You know what I mean? That’s a bad idea.”

The Red Sox checked in with Major League Baseball before implementing Tuesday’s test.

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