On-field MLB umpires will now see video of replay deliberations instead of hearing audio, but they’ll be more meetings that could have been emails.
The next time a coach or umpire calls for a review, they’ll get the results beamed in from the Major League Baseball (MLB) replay center in New York over Zoom, creating one more meeting that could’ve been an email.
Starting this season, umpire crew chiefs on the field will use the new “Zoom Replay Operations Center” to beam into replay reviews taking place at the league’s replay center in New York. Previously, umps only had access to audio of review conversations, and now they’ll have video, too, even though the remote umpires’ decision will be the one that’s final. Once an umpire or team manager calls for a review, the results depend on the person watching the replay.
Naturally, it won’t just be umps that will see more Zoom branding during MLB games. People watching broadcasts on MLB Network and Apple TV Plus will also see the Zoom Replay Operations Center during a review alongside an analyst talking about what might happen.
With the company facing increased competition from Google and Microsoft as remote and hybrid work cools from its pandemic peak, replay branding is one way Zoom can get its name in people’s minds again (similar to the Microsoft Teams Together Mode push during the NBA’s bubble season and playoffs). The company recently laid off about 15 percent of its staff in an effort to “weather the economic environment.”
While this system doesn’t do much to change the final decisions, getting some insight into the process taking place in New York might do something for people who’ve been unhappy about controversial reversals for a long time — as long as the call doesn’t end up going against your team.