Mehno: MLB too hush-hush with replay


PITTSBURGH — Here’s the mystery of the Major League Baseball replay system: Why is there so much mystery about the process?

Here’s how it works. Two umpiring crews are assigned to staff the replay headquarters somewhere in New York. We’re told the replay headquarters is downtown in the trendy Chelsea section of Manhattan.

One crew works the early shift, and the other stays late.

When there’s a review needed, they communicate with the crews who are working the games live. You typically see two umpires head to the area behind plate to get on the headsets. It’s the umpire who made the disputed call and crew chief who communicate from the field.

Who is on the other end of those conversations? We never know. MLB doesn’t announce the names of the umpires on replay duty.

How does the process work? We never know. We don’t know if one, two, three or all four umpires watch each disputed call and have a say. Do they take a vote? Do they solicit input from the umpires at the ballparks?

The decision comes from New York, the umpires on the field offer a signal and that’s it. No arguing is permitted on replay reviews.

Are the umpires at the replay denter watching on computer screens, or are they looking at big screen TVs? Do they see the same replays that the TV broadcasters are showing? Are they the same ones that are on the big screen at the ballpark?

It’s all a big mystery. There’s no way to get every call correct. We saw that the other night when MLB issued a day-after correction saying both groups of umpires had been wrong on the infamous Anthony Rizzo slide.

Maybe some clarity about how the system works would help?

No distraction

At this time next year, Le’Veon Bell will probably be well on his way to being an ex-Steeler.

What are we going to do for offseason drama?

Whose rap tracks will we be scouring for secret messages? Who else is going to be insulted at the prospect of making more than $14 million for a season?

Silent Bell

There are several reasons to be concerned about the Pirates’ recent play. One of the most disturbing developments has been the lack of progress shown by Josh Bell this season.

Good teams have a legitimate thumper in the middle of the lineup, and Bell is at a point in his career where he should be becoming that kind of hitter.

Instead there’s been a lack of progress so far this season.

Go ahead and beat up on Gregory Polanco, because he’s been utterly confused. Sometimes it’s painful to watch him. Worry about Corey Dickerson’s recent skid. But Bell’s failure to step up to any great degree has been one of the biggest ongoing issues.

Mehno can be reached at