Skip to Navigation Skip to Main Content

Umps soon may take to mic to explain replay decisions

Profile image for Ben Walker
Ben Walker, AP Baseball Writer

Adrian Gonzalez dives headfirst into home, seems to beat the tag by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, but is called out. "Safe!" shout fans at Dodger Stadium who see replays on the board.

Umpires go to their headsets for a video review, and nearly three minutes later, the signal comes: Out!

Want to hear exactly how disputed calls get decided, like that one in last year's NL Championship Series?

Soon, we might.

While nothing is set, Major League Baseball and umps are expected to discuss a plan -- most prominently used in the NFL -- for crew chiefs to wear a microphone and explain replay rulings.

Under one possible scenario, they would start at the All-Star Game on July 11 in Miami, tweak the process over the season's second half and then go forward with the experiment in the playoffs.

People familiar with the talks spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an agreement has not yet been reached.

Last year, MLB asked for the plate ump to wear a mic at the All-Star Game, but there wasn't enough time to do it.

The umpires are in the middle of their five-year labor deal and any change would involve negotiations, plus a comfort level on both sides that the system would be efficient, accurate and easy.

So no way to say for sure if fans at Camden Yards, Coors Field and ballparks across the majors will become familiar with the voices of veteran crew chiefs -- be it country singer Joe West, ordained minister Ted Barrett or Dale Scott, once a Top 40 AM radio disc jockey.

"It would probably leave us scratching our heads less on some of them where we think the call is this and it's not," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I'm sure we're not always going to get the answers we want, but I don't necessarily think it's a bad idea."

MLB has tried to speed up reviews this year, aiming for the umpires in the New York replay booth to relay the final calls to the field in under 2 minutes.

"It'll take more time," Boston pitcher David Price said. "It's not going to make them any shorter."

As for making the replay system more informative and entertaining, "Yeah, until they have a problem with the umpire's mic," he said.

Marlins star Christian Yelich said a switch wouldn't affect him.

"The call's the call," he said. "Just because they tell you what they decided isn't going to change it."

But Girardi, for one, would like to get an explanation.

"We're not allowed to argue whatever the call is because the umpire that makes the call is not there. I've sometimes wanted to go on the headset," he said, laughing.