By Bryan Jeon
For the first time in 18 years, a female umpire is set to work a major league exhibition game. On Thursday, that chance will come for Ria Cortesio when the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Chicago Cubs.
No female umpire has ever worked a major league game during the regular season. Triple-A and Double-A umpires routinely join major league crews in spring training, especially when extra games fill the schedule. Cortesio, at the young age of 30, already has eight years of experience under her belt, four of them in Double-A, where she is set to begin the season. She is also next in line to be promoted to Triple-A when the next vacancy occurs.
She is the only female umpire in professional baseball and cut off her ponytail so that she wouldn’t stand out on the field. She also uses a low grunt to call strikes but to our dismay, she’ll be working the bases in Thursday’s game.
You know how much players make, but I bet you were always wondering about umpires’ salaries. There is a stark contrast in pay and amenities between big league umps and those in the minors. Last year, Cortesio made about $2,600 a month for the six-month season with a per diem of $25 and hotel expenses covered; big league umpires can earn well over $100,000 and get $357 daily to pay for their meals and hotel. Major league umpires jet around the country; a three-person crew in the minors drives itself 24,000 miles over a full season.
And with seemingly life-terms taken on by major league umpires, it’s easier for a Double-A player to make the bigs than a Double-A ump. Good luck, Cortesio.
Image courtesy of AP Photo.