NEW YORK (AP)Big league players, managers and fans might be hearing a lot more from umpires this season.
Replay review decisions could be announced at the ballpark by umps wearing microphones, several people familiar with the plan told The Associated Press on Monday. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no decision has been made.
Major League Baseball and the umpires are actively discussing the possibility. If the technical aspects can be worked out and the umps are comfortable with the concept, they could be mic’d up sometime this year – both sides say there’s lots of work to do, making it uncertain whether this could be in place by opening day on March 26.
”I feel like getting more information on replay reviews would be great. Being able to hear what they see/say about the play will provide a better explanation of the call which will be very beneficial for both sides,” Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Stephen Vogt said.
The NFL and NHL have their referees announce the results of replay reviews. In the NBA, the arena public address announcers relay decisions.
Baseball fans have become familiar with seeing crew chiefs such as Joe West, Ted Barrett and Tom Hallion take off the headsets and signal the ruling from replay center in New York – either indicating a player is out or safe, or perhaps pointing to where a runner should go.
Under the innovation, an umpire might tell everyone at the park whether a challenged call is confirmed, stands or is reversed. It is not known whether there would be any additional explanation of a ruling beyond the basics.
”It will be helpful to the fans, which is good,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ”Sometimes they’re left in the dark as with what is being challenged.”
In the NFL and NHL, the referee is apart from the players when he speaks. MLB likely will want to be sure umps turn off their microphones for any disputes that might result.
”Well, sounds like players might be picked up on the umps’ mic,” longtime outfielder Rajai Davis texted to the AP. ”It wouldn’t affect me personally, but it will other guys.”
AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.
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