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MLB Welcomes a New Call System

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Anyone who watches live sporting events knows how aggravating it can be when umpires are asked to look over a play. It takes time away from the action, and it keeps the game from coming to an end. Watching the World Series, I would see lots of plays that I thought were called wrong. Thankfully, the teams also thought they were called wrong and brought it to the umpire’s’ attention. A base runner would be called out for stealing a base. On live television, the ball moves so fast that it is hard to tell if the play was called correctly or not. With the help of replays, the umpires are able to look over the play and communicate with one another about what had happened.

I, being the curious person I am, always wanted to know what the umpires were saying and how they came up with what to call a certain play. MLB is looking into having the umpires explain replays over a microphone, much like the NFL.  I am very pleased that sporting networks are turning to this. It is no surprise that umpires can call plays funny or even see something fans are not seeing.

The system can not come into effect just yet, however. The umpires are in the middle of a five-year labor deal. By switching to this system, umpires would have to renegotiate the terms of their deal. The system would have to be very accurate. The MLB needs to find a way to make both teams feel comfortable and make the system as flawless as possible.

The current system for announcing plays is not consistent among all major league stadiums. Some stadiums just signal to the player whether they are out or safe, and others just announce that “the call stands.” Audiences do not have an explanation; they only have a television screen replaying a confusing play.

The replay system is supposed to make its first appearance on June 11 during the All-Star Game. The system would be in use for the second half of the season and be tweaked throughout the playoff season. Having the umpires speak during games is not a new thing; however, the MLB asked the plate umpire to wear a microphone at the All-Star Game last year. MLB did not have enough time to prepare the equipment and put the system into play.

The MLB is looking for a quicker and more effective way to announce calls to the live audience and players. They are having umpires in New York announce plays in under two minutes. The only concerns people have with the audio system is that it can be hard to hear from different areas in a stadium, and it will take more time away from the game.

The MLB is trying to adopt call protocols that other sport networks already have in use. If the MLB can work out all the kinks, then the audio system will be a grand slam! Viewers, including myself, are going to love this new system because it will allow them to know more about the plays being called.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “MLB Welcomes a New Call System”

  1. Dixon Collins on April 20th, 2017 1:17 pm

    I have always been curious to find out why umpires call the call they did too. I feel that this would be a great thing to bring into the MLB. Great article!

    [Reply]

  2. Alec Eurit on May 11th, 2017 8:41 am

    Good article! It could take longer in between pitches if they have to announce questionable calls that were replayed, but if they can work out all the kinks, I think it would be a great addition to the game.

    [Reply]

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
MLB Welcomes a New Call System