Get ready for a bit of the NFL to come to Major League Baseball — and it sounds like a good thing.
Starting in 2020, MLB umpires will reportedly be mic’d up so they can explain to fans in the ballpark and watching at home on TV the results of a challenged call. The news comes to us from ESPN’s Pedro Gomez:
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
As baseball’s instant replay and review process has gotten more complex and as new rules become part of the game, this seems like a necessary step to help the viewing experience, both in-person and at home.
Perhaps the best case for adding this to baseball came during last year’s World Series during a controversial inference call in Game 6, in which Washington Nationals speedster Trea Turner was called out after being hit by a throw to first base. Baseball Twitter exploded with everyone seeking answers — and after lots of conferencing, we got a final ruling, but not the full explanation of why.
The onus to get every call right often comes with a lot of huddling between on-field umpires and the review booth back in New York. While umpires make the ultimate call on the field, fans are often left to wonder everything that went into the decision. In the social-media age, that often would lead to fans or broadcasters speculating what umpires were thinking.
In our age of immediacy, fans getting an immediate answer makes a lot of sense.
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