In an attempt “to create a more transparent and engaging review process,” Major League Baseball and Zoom have announced a partnership that will bring fans into the replay room for select games. Figuratively, of course. The league made improvements by having umpires explain replay decisions in a manner similar to how the NFL does things, but a Thursday press release offered details of how this next step will give viewers even greater access.
In the 2022 MLB season, there were more than 1,400 replay reviews. Historically, the league’s replay review was reliant on disparate technology and audio-only communication with umpires on the field, resulting in fans being disconnected from the decision-making process.
Beginning with the 2023 Season, the Crew Chief, the most senior member of the four-man umpire crew, will connect to the Zoom Replay Operations Center using Zoom’s Contact Center solution during any replay review. During national broadcasts on MLB Network and Apple TV+, fans will also see the Zoom Replay Operations Center in action live during replay reviews and hear from an expert rules analyst who will discuss replay reviews with the broadcast team. MLB’s goal with this new setup is to create a more transparent and engaging review process.
While I know there are some among you will reject this simply because you don’t care for replay in the first place, I think it’s a huge step forward for the review process. Not only will fans get to see how and why decisions are made, but it adds an extra level of accountability to the umpires and replay officials making the calls. I’m not going so far as to accuse anyone of frivolity in the past, but there’s something to be said for tightening up your game when you know people are watching.
Now it’s a matter of making this available for every game.