MLB Umpires Reportedly May Explain Replay Decisions on Microphones

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 03: Umpire Gerry Davis #12 calls Max Kepler #26 of the Minnesota Twins safe at first base against the Kansas City Royals after a replay review during the Opening Day game on April 3, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Royals 7-1. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Major League Baseball is reportedly in talks with umpires to mic crew chiefs so they can explain instant-replay decisions to fans.      

According to Ben Walker, Steven Wine and Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, the practice could begin during the July 11 All-Star Game in Miami and then continue for the second half of the 2017 season and during the playoffs.

As things stand, umpires review plays and then make hand signals to finalize decisions.

That often leads to confusion since viewers don't receive explanations for why certain calls are made.

Per the AP report, Miami Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler believes more transparency would be a good thing:

It probably would be nice to get a little more explanation. They're supposed to say the call stands or the call's confirmed. 'The call stands' means you can't tell. A lot of times we don't get that ... they just signal out or safe. That's all we get on the field. 

They may announce it on the PA, but it doesn't seem like that is consistent in all parks. And the acoustics in the stadium here — we have a hard time hearing what's on the PA in the bullpen

If MLB goes in that direction, it will be taking a page out of the NFL's and NHL's books. The lead official explains the rationale behind replay decisions in both leagues.

Instant replay is still fairly new to baseball, as MLB didn't start using it until 2008.


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