Report: MLB Umpire Crew Chiefs to Wear PA Microphones in 2022
According to a source, Major League Baseball will mike its crew chiefs starting in 2022. When there is a replay review, the umpire crew chief will announce through PA microphones what specifically is being challenged. After the review, the crew chief will announce the ultimate ruling, as well as the reason, over the PA system.
This was originally slated to occur in 2020. However, when the shutdown over the global pandemic hit, the league put this on hold. It remained on hold in 2021, but it will go forward in 2022. The league has not announced anything official yet as of press time.
According to the source, this was supposed to happen in 2020. However, the day after news broke of the NBA calling off the March 11 Utah Jazz–Oklahoma City Thunder game due to the COVID-positive test result of Rudy Gobert, Major League Baseball cancelled the rest of spring training. Four days after that, on March 16, the league suspended the season indefinitely.
This is a change that several prominent pundits, such as Rich Eisen, have called for. Quite often, replay reviews happen with the broadcasters having to guess at what exactly is being reviewed. The stadium PA announcers in 2021 have announced what ruling is being challenged, but it is typically vague. For example, the announcer will say that a team is challenging the call of “out” or “safe” at a base, but not what exactly made the runner out or safe. At the end, the umpire will give the very basic signal of fair/foul or safe/out. With the PA microphones on the crew chiefs, the entire stadium will learn the exact decision and its reasoning.