MLB is trying to be as transparent as they can with reviews in 2020. To aid that effort, umpires will be wearing live mics during games.
The review process in MLB has been under scrutiny for a while. It takes way too long and often the calls are confusing. Umpires have only communicated the calls with signs of safe and out. They haven’t explained decisions to the fans.
According to Pedro Gomez of ESPN, that all changes in 2020.
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
In the wake of the Houston Astros’ scandal, MLB is in search of ways to be as transparent as possible. They’ve decided to start with the review process.
It makes sense. Fans and broadcasters alike want to know why certain calls are made. Confusion in the wake of a controversial call should never happen.
MLB still has a long way to go before they can say they’re transparent, but this was a necessary step. They needed to improve the review process and following the NFL’s model makes the most sense.
However, this doesn’t fix the biggest issue with the review—the time. It takes forever for the umpires in Chelsea, NY to get a call. The average review is around two minutes long.
The NFL has limited the time for reviews to 60 seconds in 2005. That helped them to shorten the lengths of their games and make replay more palatable. MLB needs to figure out how to shorten or limit replay times.
Of course, the most important thing is making the right call. That said, it shouldn’t take two minutes every time they need to review things. This is a good start for MLB, but there’s still a ton of work for the league to do.