MLB Umpires To Wear Microphones & Announce Replay Decisions To Fans

Major League Baseball announced umpires will be equipped with microphones this season to inform crowds in the ballparks and viewing audience at home of decisions after instant replay reviews.

Beginning with exhibition games this weekend, crew chiefs are wearing a microphone to announce when a play is being challenged. In the event of a challenge, the umpire will jog to either baseline and face the press box to make the announcement.

After communicating with the replay official in New York, the crew chief will return to the same spot to make an announcement of the ruling and any changes to the placement of runners.

This system will also be used when a crew chief review is initiated without a challenge from either team. In those instances, the crew chief will also proceed to the baseline to make the announcement.

The steps in which teams can request a challenge will remain the same as previous seasons. A manager will have 20 seconds to alert the umpire whether he wishes to issue a challenge, and the challenge may not be rescinded once it has been exercised.

MLB is the last of the four major North American sports leagues to make officials announce replay decisions, joining the NBA, NFL and NHL.

When did MLB adopt instant replay system?

MLB implemented a limited instant replay system in 2008 and it has evolved considerably over the years. It was expanded for the first time in 2014, allowing reviews for ground-rule doubles, fair or foul ball calls and if a catch was made or the ball simply being trapped.

Two years later, MLB’s instant replay system was expanded again to include plays with fan interference and placing runners on base. Judgement calls, including called balls or strikes and checked swings, are not reviewable.

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