Major League Baseball’s replay review system was implemented in 2014, after high definition cameras helped fans watching on television see more and more blown plays. It’s generally done well, though occasionally reviews take too long (my suggestion: limit them to two minutes, if the review crew can’t figure it out by then, it’s “call stands”).
One thing that we have NOT had in the six seasons of review is an explanation in the ballparks (and on broadcasts) on microphones via the PA system, as they do in the NFL and NHL.
In 2020, we’re going to have exactly that:
New for the 2020 MLB season: Much like NFL referees have done for years, umpires will be mic’d up and tell fans in attendance and those watching on television and listening on radio if reviewed calls are upheld or overturned. They may also explain rules, if necessary.— Pedro Gomez (@pedrogomezESPN) January 27, 2020
This is a good thing. Up to now, at ballparks including Wrigley Field, all we get on the video board is something that says “Call Stands,” “Call Confirmed” or “Call Overturned.” There are times it’s not 100 percent clear what call is being challenged, and as noted in Pedro Gomez’ tweet, on occasion rules will need to be explained.
It’s not clear which umpire(s) will be making the announcements. During reviews, the umpire who makes the call and the crew chief both put the headsets on and talk with the replay review crew. It would probably make sense to have the crew chief make the announcement, much as the lead referee does in NFL games.
Yes, that means you’ll probably be hearing from Joe West from time to time in 2020. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find out he’s actually a decent umpire after all.
Will we get explanations like this?
Even if not, this is a welcome addition to the replay review system.