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Female Ump to Work MLB Exhibition Game

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  • Female Ump to Work MLB Exhibition Game

    Female Ump to Work MLB Exhibition Game
    Tue Mar 27, 4:22 AM


    A rookie fresh from the minors is about to change the face of baseball: A female umpire is set to work a major league exhibition game for the first time in almost 20 years.

    Ria Cortesio, ready to start the season in Double-A, will be on the bases Thursday for a game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs in Mesa, Ariz.

    "I'm looking forward to it," she said Monday night. "There will be a lot more people in the stands than I'm used to."

    No female umpire has ever worked in the majors during the regular season. Pam Postema was the last woman ump to call big league exhibitions, back in 1989 - she was in spring training for two years before getting released.

    Cortesio is the only female umpire in professional baseball. At 30, she is starting her ninth year overall and fifth in Double-A.

    Slender and athletic, she cut her ponytail a few years ago so she wouldn't stand out on the field. She also uses a low grunt to call strikes.

    "It's awesome," Cubs star Derrek Lee said. "I think it's about time. Female eyes are as good as male eyes. Why can't they be umpires? Good for her."

    Triple-A and Double-A umpires routinely join major league crews in spring training, especially when extra games fill the schedule.

    "I was kind of expecting it," Cortesio said. "Umpires with my seniority usually get picked."

    Cortesio has been working minor league exhibition games in Arizona this month. This week, she'll move over to HoHoKam Park when a Diamondbacks split squad plays Chicago.

    Cubs reliever Scott Eyre liked the idea.

    "She's doing our game? Oh, cool," he said. "How do I feel about it? I could care less. If she can call a game, she can call a game."

    "If she rings somebody up for me, I don't care. You know what I mean? I wouldn't have a problem with it," he said.

    Cortesio was on a big league field last season for All-Star festivities at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. She called the Futures Game for minor league prospects, then worked the Home Run Derby the next night.

    Cortesio started her umpiring career in the Pioneer League, yet doesn't trumpet herself as a pioneer in a profession dominated by men.

    "I don't do this job to get on TV," she said last July. "But I hope it will raise the awareness a little."

    She later worked in the Florida State League. There, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner once criticized her strike zone after she worked a game that Roger Clemens pitched while recuperating from an injury.

    For several years, she's been an instructor at the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring for several years.

    This year, Cortesio hopes to move to Triple-A - she's on deck for promotion when the next vacancy occurs. Once umpires reach Triple-A, they are evaluated by major league supervisors, rather than minor league staff.

    Life in Double-A isn't luxurious. Last year, she made about $2,600 a month for the six-month season and her per diem was $25, with her hotel room paid for; big league umps can earn well over $100,000 and get $357 daily to pay for their meals and hotel.

    Plus, there's the travel. Major league umpires jet around the country, a three-person crew in the Southern League drives itself 24,000 miles over a full season.

    All that, and no guarantee they'll ever make the majors because jobs rarely open up. Fact is, a player in Double-A has a much better chance of reaching the big leagues than an umpire.

    Mike Winters will lead Cortesio's crew Thursday. It'll mark the first time she's worked a game with a major league umpire.

    "I think I'm as excited about that as anything," she said.

    ---

    AP Sports Writer Rick Gano in Tempe, Ariz., contributed to this report.

  • #2
    Good for her!

    All eyes will be on her though, she'll be held to a highest standard of all the umps.
    THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT COME WITH A SCORECARD

    In the avy: AZ - Doe or Die

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    • #3
      I wish her the best of luck. In my opinion, I think that once the officials are integrated into coed things maybe the that might open the doors for more exceptance of womens baseball.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Ceannsaich
        I wish her the best of luck. In my opinion, I think that once the officials are integrated into coed things maybe the that might open the doors for more exceptance of womens baseball.
        You mean more female umpires or women playing on men's teams? If so, at which level?
        Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
        Rest very peacefully, John “Buck” O'Neil (1911-2006) & Philip Francis “Scooter” Rizzuto (1917-2007)
        THE BROOKLYN DODGERS - 1890 thru 1957
        Montreal Expos 1969 - 2004

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        • #5
          What I meant was maybe if you see more and more female umps, you would assume that females would be more common place in the male game. THat would pave the way for an easier time for a woman baseball player to integrate the big leagues or professional baseball. Im not sure if this makes sense but it makes sense to me lol. I guess what Im saying is that maybe Jackie Robinson would have had an "easier time" if there had been black umps in the majors previosuly (and im pretty sure there werent...). Not to compare the two, just the only thing I could come up with to comapre it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Ceannsaich
            What I meant was maybe if you see more and more female umps, you would assume that females would be more common place in the male game. THat would pave the way for an easier time for a woman baseball player to integrate the big leagues or professional baseball. Im not sure if this makes sense but it makes sense to me lol. I guess what Im saying is that maybe Jackie Robinson would have had an "easier time" if there had been black umps in the majors previosuly (and im pretty sure there werent...). Not to compare the two, just the only thing I could come up with to comapre it.
            You can bet your sweet bippy that there were no Black umpires in Organized Baseball. Even for years after Jackie Robinson broke the "Color Barrier". There were foreign-born players, but Blacks born in the Good Old US of A were kept out. What a country.

            Bob

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ceannsaich View Post
              What I meant was maybe if you see more and more female umps, you would assume that females would be more common place in the male game. THat would pave the way for an easier time for a woman baseball player to integrate the big leagues or professional baseball. Im not sure if this makes sense but it makes sense to me lol. I guess what Im saying is that maybe Jackie Robinson would have had an "easier time" if there had been black umps in the majors previosuly (and im pretty sure there werent...). Not to compare the two, just the only thing I could come up with to comapre it.
              I guess that whenever there's a male game, it seems unexpected to have a female in-game official. Let me ask a few questions:

              How many women umps are there in the Minor League, where Ria Cortesio has always worked? Are there any (or many) women umps in men's college baseball? Or women's college baseball (or softball)?

              I don't follow tons of other sports, but I've never seen a female ref in the NBA, NCAA basketball, NHL, NFL or NCAA football. Are there any major pro sports in which men play that often have female refs, umps, etc? For the women's basketball, volleyball, etc, are there many women referees?

              I'd have to get a better source as to the times when Robinson played. I just remembered, that he'd complained about the lack of black managers, but I'm unsure about umps.

              I'd say that had Robinson had more blacks in the game, be they umps, managers, stadium announcers, GMs, etc, then he wouldn't have been under such a microscope, with some unfortunately hoping that he fails. Since he so greatly affected others' chances, especially with his graceful mannerism, he had to do it all by himself.

              Ms Cortesio doesn't have anywhere near the stigma of her gender that Robinson had with his race. I don't expect any women managers anytime soon, but the LA Dodgers' Jamie McCourt (Frank's wife) is the highest-ranking woman in baseball.

              Sooner or later, I'd like to see how well she does behind the plate calling balls & strikes. If so, we'll see how good she is, since she's also been teaching umpiring for some time.
              Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
              Rest very peacefully, John “Buck” O'Neil (1911-2006) & Philip Francis “Scooter” Rizzuto (1917-2007)
              THE BROOKLYN DODGERS - 1890 thru 1957
              Montreal Expos 1969 - 2004

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              • #8
                BTW, Violet Palmer has been officiating in the NBA for ten years now -- so long that she's just old news.

                The color barrier's affect on players and officials is of little comparability here, because far more people of color were capable of playing professional ball in 1947 than there are woman so capable now -- or at any time. The real issue is simply whether women can officiate, not play.

                And Jamie McCourt is a poor example of how women make break into professional sports' executive levels. While she's a well educated woman, she got the job because her husband owned the team and largely is derided in the LA area as a nitwit (as is her husband, who's largely an absentee owner). A much better example is Amy Trask of the Raiders, who worked her way up through the ranks entirely on her own merits.
                Last edited by Ursa Major; 03-30-2007, 11:46 PM.
                sigpicIt's not whether you fall -- everyone does -- but how you come out of the fall that counts.

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                • #9
                  Please do excuse the rambling nature of this post, but a few points I'm trying to make:
                  Originally posted by Ursa Major View Post
                  BTW, Violet Palmer has been officiating in the NBA for ten years now -- so long that she's just old news.
                  I hadn't even realized we'd had a woman ref in the NBA. Hear anything about how good a ref she is?
                  The color barrier's affect on players and officials is of little comparability here, because far more people of color were capable of playing professional ball in 1947 than there are woman so capable now -- or at any time. The real issue is simply whether women can officiate, not play.
                  Yeah, there's that little thing called the Negro Leagues where Jackie came from that had many blacks who were very capable.

                  As to officiating, I think that she works both 1B and 3B there. I think that the real people who get noticed are the home plate umps. It all depends upon their mannerism, but if an ump can be fair, spell the rules out, know which one is to be used, the specific rules of the ballpark they're in (like what's a HR in a domed stadium, etc), then that would likely alter how fans feel about her.

                  I don't necessarily agree about whether or not a woman can be an MLB ump. To me, it's not some humongous job that only a man can do. It's her decision-making ability as an individual, how well she exercises these, and how fairly the players, the media, the fans, feel she's done her job.

                  If she's a home plate ump, does she do like some and call "Strike 3" on a pitch that looked a bit low and inside? Does she favor one pitcher over the next? Heck, I've even seen the ump delay, when the home crowd cheered their pitcher, the ump called what looked like a ball, to be a strike. To me, there's lots of things going on. Even if a ball is fair, foul, was the base-runner really tagged out, stuff like that, I believe all go well beyond gender.

                  As to her gender, someone will eventually ask how a woman will handle getting yelled at by an irate manager, or a player being called out, yet he needs to be restrained by his manager and a teammate. Like it or not, someone will likely ask how she will deal with it. As such, she'll be under a microscope.

                  I remember Billy Martin, who used to pick up dirt and put it at the ump's feet before being ejected. Sweet Lou is Martin's disciple. Then again, guys could just try being "nicer" to her than the other umps, so as not to be on the news (the entertainment/sports media can get carried away at times).
                  And Jamie McCourt is a poor example of how women make break into professional sports' executive levels. While she's a well educated woman, she got the job because her husband owned the team and largely is derided in the LA area as a nitwit (as is her husband, who's largely an absentee owner). A much better example is Amy Trask of the Raiders, who worked her way up through the ranks entirely on her own merits.
                  That's in the NFL. How many woman have made it up the executive ranks in MLB? Other than the Yanks' own Jean Afterman, who's Brian Cashman's Asst GM, I can't think of many right now.

                  I'll agree with you re Jamie McCourt. I've only heard negative things about him, but not her. Sometimes I wonder, if they're really that bad, then how in the world did they get so rich? I should try figuring out their formula sometime.

                  Tom Verducci did a cameo as an ump: My Trip to The Show (Part II). Here's the Photo Gallery.
                  Last edited by Mattingly; 03-31-2007, 01:13 AM.
                  Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
                  Rest very peacefully, John “Buck” O'Neil (1911-2006) & Philip Francis “Scooter” Rizzuto (1917-2007)
                  THE BROOKLYN DODGERS - 1890 thru 1957
                  Montreal Expos 1969 - 2004

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How many woman have made it up the executive ranks in MLB? Other than the Yanks' own Jean Afterman, who's Brian Cashman's Asst GM, I can't think of many right now.

                    Effa Manley, Co-Owner & Business Manager, Newark Eagles, Negro league, 1936-1948.

                    Grace Comiskey, Principal Owner, Chicago White Sox, American League, 1940-56.

                    Dorothy Comiskey, Principal Owner, Chicago White Sox, American League, 1956-58.

                    Jean Yawkey, Chairwoman of the Board of directors, Majority Owner, General partner, Boston Red sox, American League, 1976-88.

                    Bob

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Effa Manley, I remember, since she'd been put into the HoF. I remember something about Jean Yawkey, but I thought it was her husband who'd owned this the whole time. The Comiskeys (mother-daughter?), I hadn't known of.

                      I'm not sure how she'd gotten there, but Marge Schott, regardless of her personal reputation, was principal owner of the Cincinnati Reds.

                      Thx.
                      Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
                      Rest very peacefully, John “Buck” O'Neil (1911-2006) & Philip Francis “Scooter” Rizzuto (1917-2007)
                      THE BROOKLYN DODGERS - 1890 thru 1957
                      Montreal Expos 1969 - 2004

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mattingly View Post
                        I remember something about Jean Yawkey, but I thought it was her husband who'd owned this the whole time.
                        FYI, Matt--

                        Mrs. Yawkey was chairwoman of the board of directors of the JRY Corporation, the majority owner and general partner of the Red Sox. She became president of the club following her husband Tom’s death in 1976. In addition to attending virtually every home game, Mrs. Yawkey actively participated along with other JRY Corporation officers in management issues involving the team.
                        http://www.answers.com/topic/jean-r-yawkey
                        --Annie
                        Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none. -Benjamin Franklin, statesman, author, and inventor (1706-1790)
                        Remember Yellowdog
                        ABNY

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bluezebra View Post
                          How many woman have made it up the executive ranks in MLB? Other than the Yanks' own Jean Afterman, who's Brian Cashman's Asst GM, I can't think of many right now.

                          Effa Manley, Co-Owner & Business Manager, Newark Eagles, Negro league, 1936-1948.

                          Grace Comiskey, Principal Owner, Chicago White Sox, American League, 1940-56.

                          Dorothy Comiskey, Principal Owner, Chicago White Sox, American League, 1956-58.

                          Jean Yawkey, Chairwoman of the Board of directors, Majority Owner, General partner, Boston Red sox, American League, 1976-88.

                          Bob
                          All these women gained control through their husbands. A couple that didn't:
                          Joan Payson
                          Marge Schott

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bkmckenna View Post
                            All these women gained control through their husbands. A couple that didn't:
                            Joan Payson
                            Marge Schott
                            I hadn't realized that Effa Manley had inherited the team from her husband also. The Comiskeys were pretty easy to figure out.

                            I see that Joan Payson (according to her Wikipedia page) was once a minority owner of the NY Giants who'd voted against the move to San Francisco, and was later a majority owner of the Mets, posthumously inducted into the Mets' HoF.

                            How did Marge Schott get her ownership of the Cincy Reds?
                            Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting. 2007-11 CBA
                            Rest very peacefully, John “Buck” O'Neil (1911-2006) & Philip Francis “Scooter” Rizzuto (1917-2007)
                            THE BROOKLYN DODGERS - 1890 thru 1957
                            Montreal Expos 1969 - 2004

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                            • #15
                              Women umps.


                              I can't picture Earl Weaver and Billy Martin dealing with one. Especially if it's a big woman who's built like Ron Luciano.

                              Funny thing: a few years ago a friend of mine's wife was the ump in an adult softball game. She absolutely blew the call on an unassisted triple play (she had no clue what had happened - the batter lined out to short with runners on first and second. He quickly tagged the runner on second who was darting for third. He then tagged the runner from first who ran to second. She argued that he had to tag the runner at second before he touched base. I was the player coach and I advised her that the runner had no right to advance to second - ball caught on liner - without a tag-up, so touching second was irrelevant. She began screaming at me saying she was right and she was going to toss me....all that.....her hubby, also on the team came over and started making cow sounds. That was it. She tossed her own hubby. Fortunately, the field manager, boss of the umps saw the play happen and corrected the young lady on the decision. But she still tossed her husband. I wonder what kind of night they had?).

                              I remember when Emmett Ashford became the first black man to umpire major league baseball in 1966. Actually, with the number of black players in MLB back in the 60's, it went almost unnoticed. Though I do remember him and Frank Robinson going at it that season after a disagreement. It took Boog Powell to hold Frank when he went after Emmett.

                              Emmett worked throught the 1970 season then retired. He was a minor league umpire for 25 years prior to his entry into the big leagues.

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