Hit or error? MLB official scorers work remotely thru virus

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New York Mets relief pitcher Drew Smith (62) slips on the grass trying to reach an infield grounder hit by Thairo Estrada during the sixth inning of an exhibition baseball game against the New York Yankees, Sunday, July 19, 2020, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

MIAMI – As an official scorer for Major League Baseball, Ron Jernick has worked at the World Series, the All-Star Game and the World Baseball Classic.

This season he'll work at home.

Baseball is back, but because of the coronavirus, official scorers will rule remotely on hits and errors and other plays.

Perhaps none will be more remote than Jernick, a fixture in the Miami Marlins press box since 1999. He lives three hours north in the Melbourne area.

MLB is limiting the number of people at the ballpark, including in the press box, and decided official scorers could make their calls without seeing the game in person.

“There are a lot of roles that have historically been in the ballpark that we had to look at, and the official scorer was a tough one,” said Chris Marinak, MLB executive vice president for strategy, technology and innovation. “When we looked at the job, and the technology available to them, we felt like they can do the entire job they have to do from home."

Some in baseball are skeptical, although they say they understand that health and safety must be the priority.

Scorers will have access to an unprecedented number of video feeds, accessing the same infrastructure used for replay reviews. When they want to replay a play, they can choose their camera angle, and zoom in and rewind.