MLB games have had some form of replay review since 2008, when reviews of home runs began. The full replay review system that’s in place now began in 2014, so 2022 will be its ninth season (and eighth with fans in attendance).
Up to now, the only communication of what happened in a review was, in most ballparks, a note on the video board that the call was either “confirmed,” “stands,” or “overturned.” No explanation of exactly what happened or the reasoning behind the call. Fans in attendance and even team TV broadcasters were sometimes mystified about what happened during a review.
That’s going to change beginning on Opening Day:
This season Major League Umpires will conduct in-park announcements during the Replay Review process. We’re pleased to launch this enhancement to the ballpark and broadcast experiences. Training has been held in Arizona and Florida this spring. pic.twitter.com/vQvMXXPMjw— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) April 1, 2022
This is fantastic news for everyone, from players, coaches and managers to fans in attendance at games to the TV viewing audience. The “training” they mention hasn’t happened during games, at least not any games I’ve attended or watched on TV, but this will match what you see in an NFL or NHL game.
This system was first proposed as far back as 2017, and was supposed to happen in 2020 before the pandemic shut down baseball:
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.— The Pedro Gomez Foundation (@PGFoundation_) January 27, 2020
Now, we will get such a system, and as noted in that tweet, there are some situations where rules might have to be explained, and we’ll get that in those cases. Will we get emphatic calls like this one from NHL referee Wes McCauley?
Kudos to MLB for instituting this system. I look forward to hearing it during games.