Minor League Umpires Announce Calls To Crowd For First Time In 2024 Season

Apr 21, 2024, 3:48 PM

Smith's Ballpark...

The Salt Lake Bees grounds crew prepares the Smith's Ballpark field ready for play on July 20, 2023.

SALT LAKE CITY – Pitch clocks, larger bases, and defensive shift limits were a rousing success across all levels of pro baseball in 2023. Following the near-seamless implementation of several rule changes last year, MLB officials have been empowered to use technological advances to improve the game and fan experience.

After experimenting with a balls and strikes challenge system in 2023, umpires can now communicate challenges and review results directly to the crowd via the in-ballpark public address system at the minor league level. Umpires have used PA to announce their calls at Major League ballparks since 2022.

RELATED: Bees Starter Andrew Wantz Named PCL Pitcher Of The Week

MLB consultant Theo Epstein said of the rule changes, “This year’s set of experimental rules was informed – and we believe improved – by the feedback of players, staff, umpires, and fans, as well as by analysis of the impacts of last year’s tests. We are excited to roll out the improved rule experiments to a bigger population of minor league players to ensure that any potential new regulations fulfill their objectives of creating more action, athleticism and a better style of play.”

RELATED: High School Musical Star’s Husband Finds Spot On Bees Roster

Minor league ballparks continue to use the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS) in games played Friday-Sunday.

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Salt Lake (7-13, Fifth in PCL West) travels to the Lone Star state for six games against the Round Rock Express (8-12, Fourth in PCL East), the Triple-A affiliate of the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers. The Bees and Express play a six-game series beginning Tuesday, April 23, through Sunday, April 28.

Listen to ‘Voice of the Bees’ Tony Parks on KSL Sports Zone.

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Minor League Umpires Announce Calls To Crowd For First Time In 2024 Season