For Pete's Sake

Baseball reportedly may have umpires announce replay decisions to crowd

This May 16, 2015 file photo shows umpire Joe West connecting with Major League Baseball’s review command center in New York.
This May 16, 2015 file photo shows umpire Joe West connecting with Major League Baseball’s review command center in New York. The Associated Press

Of the various replay systems used in sports, the NFL gets one thing right: the officials announce to the crowd (and thus the television audience) why a play was ruled in a certain way.

It’s aggravating for fans who watch a baseball game when the umpires review a play, they talk things over with an offiical in New York, then make their ruling. However, there is no explanation for why they rule a certain way.

Well, that may be changing.

The Associated Press reported that baseball and umpires are “expected to discuss a plan — most prominently used in the NFL — for crew chiefs to wear a microphone and explain replay rulings.”

This procedure could start at the All-Star Game in Miami, the AP reported, and then MLB could fine-tune things in the second half of the season and use it in the playoffs.

Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler, who is from Pratt, Kan., and attended Missouri State, is in favor of the change.

“It probably would be nice to get a little more explanation,” Ziegler told the Associated Press. “They’re supposed to say the call stands or the call’s confirmed. ‘The call stands’ means you can’t tell. A lot of times we don’t get that ... they just signal out or safe. That’s all we get on the field.

“They may announce it on the PA, but it doesn’t seem like that is consistent in all parks. And the acoustics in the stadium here — we have a hard time hearing what’s on the PA in the bullpen.”

The AP story notes that umpires’ labor deal runs through the 2019 season, so there would be a need for negotiations.

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Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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