Major League Baseball is constantly trying to speed up the game in hopes that a quicker game will attract more viewers. This was evident when recently Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that this upcoming season teams will just signal from the dugout if they are intentionally walking a player. Now another area that baseball is struggling to shorten up is replay review, and the answer may be very simple.
The League should copy the College World Series, and put cameras on the umpires hats, but for every game. For those of you who may not be aware, in 2015 in the College World Series ESPN had the home plate umpires wear cameras on their hats, giving another perspective to the viewers at home.
In the College World Series only the home plate umpire had the camera on his head, and this is where the MLB can capitalize. If all umpires have cameras the views available for replay, and fan experience are much larger.
Now this is where umpires wearing cameras on their heads comes in to play. There are generally two sides people take on the replay system in baseball, some say, just get the call right, and the others say human error is a part of the game. What if we could have both? If a coach wants a play to be reviewed the people in New York who watch and decide on the call, instead of looking at all of the angles that the broadcasting stations have, they look at the umpire cam.
If you can only see the play as the umpire did it would be a smooth process, that shouldn’t more than 30 seconds, and this can help the league see who really is their best umpires. It will also show who may need a refresher on what angles to take on close plays. Now the pluses of having cameras on the field don’t stop there.
This past season the NFL started streaming games on social media outlets in order to gain viewers. Major League Baseball could put a twist on it, and stream games with the usage of the umpire cams as a viewing option, along with the regular broadcast. This is a different perspective that fans definitely would enjoy. Being able to literally see the game from the point of view from the umpires, and players will bring in viewers for sure.
The biggest issue with this idea is how to properly do it. There does not seem to be a company that specializes in this type of camera. For the College World Series ESPN had their own camera that they strapped on the home plate umpire. In the 2016 Big Ten Championship for football there was a referee who had a GoPro camera strapped to his hat. The MLB could employ GoPro, or it could do what ESPN did, and develop its own camera.
If Major League Baseball took this route (which they should) there would obviously have to be a testing ground. The benefit of professional baseball is there are multiple minor league levels in which they could try multiple technologies. The process could take a few years to perfect, but the MLB has a history of trying out new things in the minor leagues in the past. This should be their next experiment.
Will Major League Baseball invest in this? Could it hurt to try to give fans a new perspective of the game? Rob Manfred is pushing to speed up the game, but obviously wants technology to be involved, this is a perfect mixture.The Answer to MLB Replay Issues.