Changing a Judgement Call

Out or safe?  Ball or strike?  Fair or foul?


Most calls are based on subjective umpire judgement.  The choice between calls is often fractions of a second or inches.  Consequently, expect Managers to ask you to reconsider and change (reverse) impactful calls.


Don’t change a judgement call without first calling time and asking for another umpire’s viewpoint

-  It’s your option whether or not to check with another umpire about your call.  You want to get the call right, but you also don’t want to slow the game by checking every close call.  Only check with another umpire when you think he had a complementary angle or if you were distracted by something else during the play.


-  It's ok to change your call when your partner provides new information.  Examples:

  • a fielder that pulled his foot off of the bag,
  • a swipe tag on a runner from a side you couldn’t see,
  • a trapped fly ball by a fielder,
  • a checked swing as seen by a Base Umpire.


-  Another justification for a reversal is if a rule was not properly enforced.   Examples:

  • an out or safe call at a base when the force out rule was not applied properly,
  • an out on a runner who was obstructed earlier during the play.


Decide how the change will impact the runners that advanced and/or scored on the play

-  Don't agree to reverse a call if the crew is not sure where to place runners that advanced during the original play. Better to stick with your initial call and "let the play stand" than guess about runs scored and/or where to place runners.


Explain to both Managers the new information to support your reversal

-  The umpire that made the original call should explain to both Managers why the call is being changed.


Whether it’s a close play that could have gone either way or one that leaves you in doubt, own the call and "move on"

-  If one side of the ballpark disagrees with you on a very close play (a "bang-bang play", a strike at the edge of the plate, etc.) – congratulations, you made the right call!



Site Glossary
Definitions from the Little League Rule Book and terms used on this site.
LL101 Site Glossary Version 5.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [607.9 KB]


Visits Since 2014