SOMETIMES THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG CALL
If you put 30 sports officials in a room, regardless of the sport, and watch a tight play on video, what happens during the dissection of the action afterward? A big argument, right? Some people think it was a check swing. A bunch of others will think the batter followed through and the umpire should’ve called a strike. Roughly half will be adamant about pass interference while the others think it was just good defense.
We are trained to get our rulings correct. We study the rules, learn complex situations, review video and get feedback from clinicians at camps. All that work doesn’t ensure perfection. Nor does it ensure we’ll always be on the same page as our partners or that reasonable people can’t disagree on a specific play.
At the same time, there is this presumption in almost all sports that there is only one correct ruling for a specific play. You are either right or wrong. That’s not true. Given the complexity of factors and the speed with which players run, balls are thrown and bodies clash, we can’t presume that certain movements or contact can always be ruled one way or another. Sometimes the play is a 50‑50 call and we should remember that.
Take baseball, for example. Umpires know the strike zone. The pitcher has to hit a small area. If he’s just off slightly, it won’t be a strike.