Baseball hitting signs are devised by each team and changed on a regular basis so that the opponents aren't able to learn them. Signs given by a third base coach are meaningless until an 'indicator' sign is given. The indicator sign means that a subsequent sign given will be the 'active' sign and is what the coach wants to have happen.
Let's do an example of signs. Touching the belt can mean bunt, touching the arm can mean steal, touching the nose can mean take. But none of these signs become active until the third base coach gives the indicator sign, which for this example, will be touching the ear. And we will say that the indicator sign means the very next sign the coach gives after the indicator will be active.
If the third base coach touches, in order, arm, belt, nose, belt, nose, arm, nose, no sign is active because the coach did not touch the ear, which is the indicator that the next sign becomes the active sign. But if the coach touches, in order, arm, belt, nose, ear, belt, nose, arm, nose then the bunt is on because the first sign after the indicator (ear) was belt, which means bunt.
Now, let's throw a wrinkle into things. Let's have another sign, touching the cap, and we will call that sign the 'wipe' sign. The wipe sign is just the opposite of the indicator sign. Where we use the indicator sign to tell the batter that the next sign becomes active, we use the wipe sign to tell the batter that what we told him/her to do, the active sign, has been wiped off and is no longer active.
Using the example we used above, if the third base coach touches, in order, arm, belt, nose, ear, belt, nose, arm, nose then the bunt is on because the first sign after the indicator (ear) was belt, which means bunt. But, if the third base coach touches, in order, arm, belt, nose, ear, belt, nose, cap, arm, nose then there is no active sign given because the bunt, which was turned on by the coach touching the ear and then the belt, has been wiped off by the coach touching the cap.
Hopefully, the syntax here isn't too garbled to understand and that it has helped in understanding hitting signs!
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