SAN FRANCISCO — The World Series umpiring crew has two first-timers — unlike last year.
Umpires Sam Holbrook and Bill Miller will make their World Series debuts Wednesday night in Game 1 between Texas and San Francisco. They will be joined by veteran umpires John Hirschbeck, Gary Darling, Mike Winters and Jeff Kellogg.
Hirschbeck will be the crew chief following World Series appearances in 1995 and 2006, Major League Baseball said Tuesday. He will work the plate for the opener, with Holbrook at first, Miller at second, Winters at third, Kellogg in left and Darling in right.
The six-man crew had included at least one World Series rookie in 24 of past 25 events until last October. MLB likes to reward newer umpires and expand the roster of umps with Series experience.
World Series crews are picked from the pool of umpires who work in the first round of the playoffs. Miller was in the Tampa Bay-Texas series and Holbrook did the Cincinnati-Philadelphia matchup.
At least a pair of first-time World Series umpires had been included for five straight years until last season. Miller and Holbrook restore the familiar rotation.
There were some misses in the opening round this season and chants of “Replay! Replay!” broke out in the Tropicana Field crowd after Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was ejected. Miller was not involved in the calls that prompted the disputes.
This is the third postseason with video review — it is used solely to determine whether balls are home runs. The umpires went to replay in Game 4 of the Texas-Yankees series and overturned the original call, correctly ruling that Lance Berkman’s drive was foul rather than a home run.
Commissioner Bud Selig recently said he didn’t find much support for expanded replay in his talks with managers, executives and owners. In December, baseball management, players and umpires will meet about the state of umpiring, and replay could be among the topics.