In addition to Matt’s excellent substantive critique, I would note that David Savage’s piece fails to understand the role of an umpire. Savage assumes that an umpire’s call always has minor impact and that it is inconsistent for a “modest” call to have major impact. But umpires, acting modestly within their proper role, frequently make calls that dramatically affect, or even decide the outcome of, ball games. The important thing—the thing that determines whether they are really acting as umpires—is that they do their best to make those calls correctly and neutrally. That’s a far cry, say, from going to bat for one of the teams.