The 2018 Major League Baseball™ season recorded over 1,400 challenged calls, with more than 40 percent of them resulting in an overturned ruling. That alone shows how important a role Replay Reviews play in MLB™. And at the heart of every Replay Review is unified communications, which ensures the ball is never dropped.
UC: The right equipment for Replay Reviews
The Major League Baseball™ Replay Operations Center is located in New York. For it to operate seamlessly, each of the 30 MLB™ stadiums – and other stadiums hosting MLB™ games – must have reliable and clear communications with the Center no matter what.
Before UC arrived, antiquated phones and disparate systems created some critical challenges:
Confusion among personnel: Each stadium operated on its own phone system, so coaches, players, umpires and various staff from visiting teams had to constantly learn how to use new phones. Not only was this a time-waster, it created unnecessary headaches and miscommunication as well.
Incomplete decisions: The official Replay Review rules and regulations state that a replay decision must be made in just two minutes or less. Thus, calls between umpires, officials and the Replay Operations Center required a more reliable and secure connection. There wasn’t time for dropped calls or poor sound quality.
Unenforced On-Field Regulations: The integrity of every game depends on all rules and regulations being followed. And accomplishing this requires the ability to record calls and play them back whenever necessary, which wasn’t possible before.
Unified Communications: The Heart of Every Replay Review
A review consists of analyzing video footage from various angles and a discussion via phone and headset between the game umpires and the Replay Operations Center umpires. If communication channels break down, the Replay Review fails.
There are three possible outcomes for a Replay Review: Confirmed (the evidence clearly shows the umpire made the right call), Stands (the replay doesn’t present enough information to tell one way or the other) and Overturned (the replay video clearly shows the wrong call was made). To make the best decision on the information available, officials in multiple locations must converse in a short amount of time.
Once the decision’s been made, technicians forward the video footage supporting the decision back to the stadium, where it can be displayed on the scoreboard and to viewers at home. If communication breaks down at any point in this process, the review could stall or fail to wrap up in the allotted time.
Unified communications eliminates these headaches and reduces the risks of call failure. With it, the MLB™ Replay Review process runs smoothly.
A secure and reliable unified communications solution covers dugouts, bullpens, press boxes, clubhouses and, of course, the Replay Operations Center, making it easier to meet the two-minute requirement.
A standardized system across all stadiums increases efficiency and keeps the game moving at a quicker pace.
Call recording verifies all rules and regulations are followed.
A business communications platform provides many options to choose from – voice, messaging, mobility, presence, conferencing, collaboration and applications – that can be deployed to a single site or through a global multi-site network. Whether they’re on the field or in New York, managers and umpires are never out of touch with each other, especially during the heated moments of a challenged call.
Thanks to such technology, the Replay Review is a regular part of MLB™ games at home and abroad. The system, built on unified communications, allows MLB™ to focus on making the right call without worrying about whether the lines of communication will remain open.
Managers and players can keep their heads in the game without distractions from technical challenges, and fans can trust that decisions are based on the most innovative and reliable communications system available. It’s a rare win-win situation in baseball.
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