Inside MLB's replay room
MLB's instant replay system was upgraded in a small but critical way this year, as umpires now announce the results of every challenge over the stadium's PA system.
Why it matters: The change provides clarity compared to the old format, wherein umpires non-verbally signaled the result of challenges, and triggers the type of epic crowd reaction one doesn't normally see at a baseball game.
How it works: When a manager challenges a call, the umpires on the field cede control to a team of umps and technicians stationed at MLB's HQ in midtown Manhattan, which I recently had a chance to tour.
- The setup above is one of nine identical stations, each of which has one seat for a technician and one for an umpire, about five of whom are stationed there every game day.
- When a challenge comes through, the tech and ump work together to view as many angles as necessary to get the call right. The goal is to complete the review in under two minutes.
- Once the ump makes a decision, the call is relayed to the field umpire, who announces the result to the stadium.
By the numbers: There were 1,287 challenges and another 155 reviews requested by the crew chief during the 2021 regular season. 47.2% were overturned, 31.7% stood as called and 20% were confirmed.