MLB umpires will have a new view this season — on Zoom
Rome Sentinel Co.
NEW YORK (AP) — Umpires will have a new view this season: on Zoom. Major League Baseball struck a deal with Zoom Video Communications Inc. allowing on-field umpires to watch the replay operations center evaluating contested calls. MLB first adopted instant replay in September 2008 for home boundary calls and expanded it to a wide variety of decisions for the 2014 season. There were 1,434 video reviews last season that included 1,261 team challenges with 50.2% leading to overturned calls. Until now, the on-field crew chief listened to the replay umpire in New York with audio only, joined by the umpire who made the initial call if different from the crew chief. The umps walked over to the side of the field through 2013 to listen on a headset, then from 2014-21 an attendant brought out a headset to the field for them. Last year, umps switched to a wireless belt pack and MLB for the first time allowed then to announce replays and decisions over ballpark public address systems. On-field umps this year will have 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablets brought out to them by a technician. They will be connected to the Zoom contact center and the replay operations center so they can see what replay is being viewed. The replay umpire still gets the final call.