Thursday, March 22, 2007

MLB Discriminates Against Mute Umpires


"Major League Baseball fans might get to eavesdrop on players and managers arguing calls this season as Fox and ESPN put microphones on umpires during telecasts for the first time.

One umpire from each crew will wear a microphone that he can turn on and off during the game at his discretion. The networks said they won't air live audio from the microphones.

Both networks said they would be selective in the audio they choose to use and umpires can turn off the microphones if a player or manager is arguing a ruling. The networks said they may decide to air contested calls on delay if considered suitable."

Wait a second, the umpire can turn his mic off if he's in an argument. So, it's like this...

Uh oh, here comes Lou again, I better turn this thing off - this could get pretty nasty. I'd hate for the fans to be able to hear the sound of his spit splatting off my face.

Honestly, isn't that what we want to hear the most? The arguing? I'm sure we will though as most umps will forget their mic is on, and the whole conversation will be picked up. Hopefully ESPN and FOX will not be afraid to air those converasations.

The networks will evaluate the audio during games and package it with replays.

"We don't want to offend or embarrass anybody, including ourselves," said Tim Scanlan, ESPN's senior coordinating producer. "If it's meaningful and takes the viewer closer to the game, we'll do it."

I'm sure it won't be long until some umpires regret having that mic turned on. Like when they actually admit to blowing a call: