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Thread: Female Ump to Work MLB Exhibition Game

  1. #61
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    Tonypug,

    How much did you actually hear about her? Are you in a minor league community or otherwise in tune? I live in Baltimore and she rarely made the papers - so here her career was just as quiet as her release.

    Vptpt,

    There is always more to a story than we know but do you have any facts relevant to her release due to the fact that she was female? Are there other reasons that a Double-A umpire should somehow be replacing major league umps?

  2. #62
    Yeah, I admitted above that there is most likely more to the story than what we know. But baseball is a male-dominated sport. Nobody can really argue that. Women have come a long way in baseball, but there's still a lot of closed doors to women in baseball. I'm beginning to think we'll never see a female ML umpire.

    And no, I never expected her to go from AA to the ML. Come on, give me some credit! I just threw that in about bad umps because I'm frustrated with bad umpiring.
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  3. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by bkmckenna View Post
    Tonypug,

    How much did you actually hear about her? Are you in a minor league community or otherwise in tune? I live in Baltimore and she rarely made the papers - so here her career was just as quiet as her release.

    Vptpt,

    There is always more to a story than we know but do you have any facts relevant to her release due to the fact that she was female? Are there other reasons that a Double-A umpire should somehow be replacing major league umps?
    I live in the middle of the Florida State League, I am a High School and College umpire and talked to guys who worked with her. I never heard anything other then she was a good competent umpire with potential. Thats why I was shocked to hear of her release.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonypug View Post
    I live in the middle of the Florida State League, I am a High School and College umpire and talked to guys who worked with her. I never heard anything other then she was a good competent umpire with potential. Thats why I was shocked to hear of her release.
    Thanks, glad to hear from someone with umpire contacts. How often are Double -A umps given the boot? How many either move up or are canned after five years? Would be interesting to get your input about the job security of minor league umps.

  5. #65
    NotAboutEgo Guest
    I know a bunch of former pros who are coaching in the minors now. I should see some of them within the next couple of weeks. I'll ask them if they know anything about Cortesio's release.

  6. #66
    NotAboutEgo Guest

    2001 Cortesio Article

    Working with the count against her
    Cortesio aspires to become first woman umpire in majors


    By DAN MANOYAN
    of the Journal Sentinel staff
    Last Updated: May 9, 2001
    Geneva, Ill. - Ria Cortesio has done the research and the arithmetic.

    Ria Cortesio says she expected to have a rough go of it while umpiring in the Midwest League but she says everything has gone smoothly so far.

    When people think of an umpire, they think of dirty, grouchy, fat old men.
    -- Ria Cortesio,
    minor league umpire

    As a female umpire in the macho world of professional baseball, she understands her odds of making it to "The Show" are roughly akin to those of an all-Chicago World Series. She knows of four pioneer women who have called balls and strikes in professional baseball before her, none of whom ever got a whiff of major-league coffee.

    The best known of her predecessors, Pam Postema, labored for 13 years in the obscurity of backwater minor-league venues, seven of them in Class AAA and four as a crew chief.

    The story goes that then baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti was grooming Postema for the majors in 1989 and even promoted her to doing National League spring training games. But Giamatti suffered a fatal heart attack that year and Postema never got her call.

    She gave up her quest in frustration.

    Call it baseball's grass ceiling.

    "From what I've heard, Pam was one of the best balls and strikes umpires around," said Cortesio recently, before working a Class A Midwest League contest here. "It's a shame she never got her shot. I heard she's a mechanic in Ohio, now."

    Cortesio, 24, knows what the stereotype of a baseball umpire is and she knows she is not it.

    "When people think of an umpire, they think of dirty, grouchy, fat old men."

    She stands as a living, breathing breaker of the mold. She's everything that umpires aren't supposed to be - clean, young and sleek.

    "I just want to be an umpire," she said. "Not a female umpire, just an umpire."

    Cortesio, who was raised in a small farming community in Iowa near the Quad Cities, grew up playing sandlot baseball with her cousins. When she was old enough to drive, she started going to Quad City River Bandits games in Davenport.

    "I always loved baseball, but I knew I could never play it professionally," she said. "Isn't it ironic that they call it "America's Pastime" yet 50% of the population is excluded from playing the game? I don't consider softball an alternative - I think it's a joke.

    "We started going to River Bandits games in 1993, the year their stadium got flooded and they had to play their games on local high school diamonds," Cortesio explained. "The umpires had to change (clothes) in their cars because there were no locker rooms, so we would go up to them and talk with them.

    "We talked with every crew that came through and the more I talked with them, the more interested I got in the lifestyle. I guess I liked the part about traveling so much.

    "One of them told me about umpire school and I decided to look into it."

    Following dreams
    Cortesio eventually enrolled in the Jim Evans Umpire School in Florida in 1996 at the age of 19. After finishing in the top 10% of her class, she was assigned to the Pioneer League, which has teams in Utah, Montana and Idaho.

    She spent two years there, earning a promotion to the Class A Midwest League this year. She is one of 14 full-time umpires (seven two-person teams) employed by the league.

    She and partner Scott McClellan of Fort Wayne, Ind., will spend the summer traversing the Midwest, calling games in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Michigan. The league includes Brewers affiliate Beloit (Snappers), and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, based in Appleton.

    By all accounts, things have gone smoothly for Cortesio in all aspects of the challenge.

    "It's gone real smoothly, but of course that's subject to change at any time," Cortesio said. "I expected things to be a lot worse because I read Pam Postema's book and the abuse she went through.

    "But I think times have changed, luckily for me. These guys just want to get on base, score a run, get to the majors - just like me. They don't care what sex you are.

    Although Cortesio claims she never has had a player or coach make a sexist comment to her, she has felt an underpinning of resentment.

    "Nobody has ever said anything to me outright, but there have been a couple managers who you could tell didn't want me on the field. My thinking is that's their problem, not mine.

    While most managers and players seem willing to give Cortesio the benefit of the doubt, there are traces of resentment below the surface.

    "I don't comment on any umpires until I make out my report at the end of the year," brusquely stated Russ Morman, manager of the Kane County Cougars, when asked to assess Cortesio's work.

    Favorable impression
    But Cedar Rapids Kernels manager Tyrone Boykin is not only tolerant of Cortesio's effort, he is supportive.

    "From what I've seen she handles herself with a lot of poise behind the plate," Boykin said. "She's a female in a male's world, but she does as good a job as any I've seen.

    "It's sad that there haven't been many female umpires because I'm sure there are others who would like to be given the opportunity. We should all treat her like she should be treated - and that's like an umpire."

    For McClellan's part, his partnership with Cortesio has worked out just fine.

    "When they told me I would be paired with a woman, I knew it would be different," said McClellan, who like Cortesio is in his first season in the Midwest League. "But I didn't have any expectations. I decided to judge for myself and I think she's doing really good.

    "I haven't heard any of the players complain about her, about anything out of the ordinary."

    It may be a more enlightened world from when Postema and the other female pioneer umpires tried to get into baseball in the '70s and '80s, but Cortesio understands her chances of ever working a game at Miller Park still are slim at best.

    "Why should I be discouraged because the others (women) didn't make it?" she said. "There are 13 other umpires in this league and the odds of any of us ever making it to the big leagues aren't good.

    "Maybe the other women had the talent to make it. . . .maybe they didn't. I don't know; I wasn't there.

    "I just know I'm going to give it my best shot and we'll see what happens."

    __________________________________________________ _______________

    Women become lawyers, doctors, surgoens, teachers, physicists, astronauts and astronomers, CEOs, CFOs, presidents of companies, engineers, firefighters, paramedics, healers, professors, etc., etc., etc.; yet, many people still think that women aren't capable of becoming umpires and playing baseball.

    We also go through childbirth. There are things that are harder to get through than that, but umpiring isn't one of them.

  7. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by bkmckenna View Post
    Thanks, glad to hear from someone with umpire contacts. How often are Double -A umps given the boot? How many either move up or are canned after five years? Would be interesting to get your input about the job security of minor league umps.
    Below the AAA level, minor league ups have very little job security. An umpire graduating from umpire school, is hopeful to get placed in any level. It has also become very political and not how good you are but who you know. You are starting to see sons , grandsons and other relatives of former umpires making it to the big leagues very quickly these days. You would think in this day and age baseball would be out working hard to recruit female umpires, and that just isn't being done. I have worked with female umpires and have found the ones I have worked with to be as good as any male partner I have worked with. They do however get a lot more crap from managers and players and that is something that is tough to deal with. I have sent out a couple of E-Mails ionquiring about Cortesio, I'll let you know if I hear anything.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonypug View Post
    Below the AAA level, minor league ups have very little job security.
    This is what I thought.

    The situation is probably much worse today than decades ago when considering that about 150 minor league teams are feeding 30 ML franchise - in the 1950s over 800 minor league teams were feeding 16 ML teams.

    It has also become very political and not how good you are but who you know.
    Things have always been that way throughout the business world - it's extremely frustrating for those who don't have those "ins."

  9. #69
    Quote Originally Posted by bkmckenna View Post
    This is what I thought.

    The situation is probably much worse today than decades ago when considering that about 150 minor league teams are feeding 30 ML franchise - in the 1950s over 800 minor league teams were feeding 16 ML teams.



    Things have always been that way throughout the business world - it's extremely frustrating for those who don't have those "ins."
    Yes, but nepotism is still nepotism.

  10. #70
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    How many women are completing the approved umpiring schools, percentage-wise? It would be logical to suggest that if say 5% are woman than roughly 5% of people entering organized baseball through these schools should be female. Currently, I believe the ratio lies at about 0.0%.

    Since it's been established that AA and below umps are constantly in jeopardy for their jobs, it seems to me that the better question here is not why Cortesio was canned but why she didn't make it to Triple-A?
    Last edited by Brian McKenna; 11-19-2007 at 02:43 PM.

  11. #71
    I received some answers to my inquiries. The Professional Baseball Umpires Association hires, promotes and fires umpires up through AA. There is very little movement on the major league level, with most umpires having a long career. PBUC, isn't looking for career minor league umpires and in order to keep young fresh umpires in the system, releases 50-75 umpires each season. If they don't feel an umpire is ready for AAA after being in the lower minors for 6-8 years, those umpires are the candidates to be released. Apparently it was felt that Cortesio didn't have the necessary qualities to go higher then AA.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonypug View Post
    I received some answers to my inquiries. The Professional Baseball Umpires Association hires, promotes and fires umpires up through AA. There is very little movement on the major league level, with most umpires having a long career. PBUC, isn't looking for career minor league umpires and in order to keep young fresh umpires in the system, releases 50-75 umpires each season. If they don't feel an umpire is ready for AAA after being in the lower minors for 6-8 years, those umpires are the candidates to be released. Apparently it was felt that Cortesio didn't have the necessary qualities to go higher then AA.
    That's interesting stuff. Who decides which umps make it to Triple-A - Major League Baseball? Do they then become property of MLB? Any related info would be most helpful. Thanks.

  13. #73
    NotAboutEgo Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by tonypug View Post
    I received some answers to my inquiries. The Professional Baseball Umpires Association hires, promotes and fires umpires up through AA. There is very little movement on the major league level, with most umpires having a long career. PBUC, isn't looking for career minor league umpires and in order to keep young fresh umpires in the system, releases 50-75 umpires each season. If they don't feel an umpire is ready for AAA after being in the lower minors for 6-8 years, those umpires are the candidates to be released. Apparently it was felt that Cortesio didn't have the necessary qualities to go higher then AA.
    That's interesting, since Cortesio was considered good enough to umpire an MLB exhibition game. They had to have thought she's good enough to have been considered for it. I don't know how that game turned out, in terms of umpiring, but from what has been said, she was at the top at her level, then she got canned. I don't know the details, but even if you are trying to keep the umpire crews fresh, it seems that someone who's at the top would stick around longer. Did her partner get canned, too? Out of the others who get canned year after year, how many of them are considered the tops umpires at their level?

    Judging from the quality (or lack there of) of umpires at the MLB level, maybe MLB needs to start promoting more minor league umpires. I think the overall, collective umpiring of MLB is truly horrible now days.

    But, in order for that to happen, both MLB and the minors need to change their status of being good ole' boys organizations. Who knows if that will ever happen.

  14. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by NotAboutEgo View Post
    That's interesting, since Cortesio was considered good enough to umpire an MLB exhibition game. They had to have thought she's good enough to have been considered for it. I don't know how that game turned out, in terms of umpiring, but from what has been said, she was at the top at her level, then she got canned. I don't know the details, but even if you are trying to keep the umpire crews fresh, it seems that someone who's at the top would stick around longer. Did her partner get canned, too? Out of the others who get canned year after year, how many of them are considered the tops umpires at their level?

    Judging from the quality (or lack there of) of umpires at the MLB level, maybe MLB needs to start promoting more minor league umpires. I think the overall, collective umpiring of MLB is truly horrible now days.

    But, in order for that to happen, both MLB and the minors need to change their status of being good ole' boys organizations. Who knows if that will ever happen.
    Mlb is a good old boy network for sure. As I said the umpire ranks are full of nepotism. What actually happened in Cortesio's case is a mystery and nobody including Cortesio has shed any light on the situation. What I have talked about above are generalities, and what normally takes place. The questions you ask are very valid.How did she go from working an MLB exhibition game and be top ranked in her classification at the start of the season to being released at the end of the season. Probably the only one who can shed light on that is Cortesio herself.

  15. #75
    NotAboutEgo Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by tonypug View Post
    Mlb is a good old boy network for sure. As I said the umpire ranks are full of nepotism. What actually happened in Cortesio's case is a mystery and nobody including Cortesio has shed any light on the situation. What I have talked about above are generalities, and what normally takes place. The questions you ask are very valid.How did she go from working an MLB exhibition game and be top ranked in her classification at the start of the season to being released at the end of the season. Probably the only one who can shed light on that is Cortesio herself.
    It will be interesting to see if any details come forth from Cortesio or other sources. Perhaps we will have to dig further with the contacts that some of us have.

  16. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by NotAboutEgo View Post
    It will be interesting to see if any details come forth from Cortesio or other sources. Perhaps we will have to dig further with the contacts that some of us have.
    I am exploring a couple of other options to find out more. One of my contacts did say however, until Cortesio herself speaks up, very little will be known. Certainly PBUC isn't going to elaborate.

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