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MLB umpires should be mic’d up to explain reviews and ejections

They and the players and coaches shouldn’t be the only ones who know the results of these types of plays.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

During Sunday’s Cubs/Pirates game, plate umpire Greg Gibson ejected someone in the Cubs dugout after there apparently was some chirping from the bench following yet another Cubs batter being hit by a pitch (this time, Kris Bryant).

(Cubs batters don’t lead the league in much — not even batter strikeouts — but that gives them six HBP for the young season, one off the NL lead held by the Phillies.)

Anyway, who was the mystery ejection? Our own Sara Sanchez weighed in:

Sara is exactly correct, but I’d vote for “ridiculous” over “hysterical” if I had to choose just one.

NFL and NHL officials are mic’d up so that both the crowd in attendance at the stadium or arena and the TV audience watching the game know what’s happening when things like this occur.

Because MLB umpires aren’t, we get this:

At last, several minutes later, we get the information thanks to Chicago Tribune Cubs beat writer Meghan Montemurro:

It’s absurd that only the players and coaches, and eventually members of the media, find out what’s going on down on the field in situations like this, while the paying customers, and the TV audience — who also pay, whether directly or indirectly — have no clue.

This is also the case for replay reviews. Generally, once a review is decided, the ballpark video board will put up a notice indicating that the call either stands, is confirmed, or is overturned. But in certain cases there’s more to a review than those simple decisions, and one of those happened in Sunday’s game as well, on this play in the third inning [VIDEO].

Willson Contreras was ruled to have violated the “slide rule”:

I’m not going to argue about that. This involves an umpire’s interpretation of the rule and, well, this one went against the Cubs.

But as you can see, the text of the rule is quite involved and the interpretation can be one of several clauses. It would be helpful if umpires could turn on a stadium PA microphone and explain the ruling to the fans in attendance, and also those watching on TV.

This isn’t hard. The NFL has been doing it for decades. The technology exists, obviously, the umpiring crew chief could wear a wireless microphone and turn it on and give maybe a 15 to 20 second explanation of the ruling that was made by the review crew, or in the case of an ejection, tell who was tossed and why. Yes, a few extra seconds will be used, but in the end, since these don’t happen very often, the overall average length of games won’t change much.

Yes, there will be booing if it’s a home team player tossed, or if the review goes against the home team. To which I say: “So what?” This happens at NFL and NHL games all the time. It’s part of the game. It certainly would have ben helpful if an explanation would have been given to the crowd after the horrendously bad call in Sunday night’s Phillies/Braves game [VIDEO].

Leaving the paying customers and TV viewers in the dark about decisions like this seems on-brand for Major League Baseball, which doesn’t seem to care much about its fans unless it can lift money out of their wallets and/or bank accounts.

But mic’ing up umpires would certainly be a nice gesture to, you know, tell the people who are paying the freight exactly what they just saw.


MLB umpires should be mic’d up to explain reviews and ejections...

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    (221 votes)
  • 5%
    (14 votes)
  • 7%
    Don’t care either way
    (19 votes)
254 votes total Vote Now