Why there are no female umps

One of the few women who stand behind the plate unloads on the majors


As the World Series heats up, fans may wonder why a woman has never taken her place behind the plate or on the baselines to call a major-league game. Perry Barber, a female ump at the college and semi-pro level, has a few thoughts on the subject. In a Q & A on a website dedicated to women’s issues, Barber claims that the men who run MLB have systematically shut women out of officiating. Their pattern, she says, is never to have more than one woman working at a level close enough that she might get called up, lest they band together and begin demanding fair treatment. “They hire women for a certain period of time, and when they’ve reached a point where it appears it’ll be too difficult to keep them under control, they kick them to the curb,” she says. As you might expect from an ump, Barber has a certain facility for salty languange. Claims that one up-and-coming woman, Pam Postema, was recently fired because she ejected too many players, are “a bunch of bulls–t,” she says; the real reason is that Postema’s chief backer, the progressive MLB commissioner Bart Giamatti, died. “After that, nobody gave a s–t about her.” Given that the NBA has brought female officials into its fold, Barber adds, there is no good explanation for baseball’s resistance other than its old-boy mentality.

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Why there are no female umps

  1. It's been my experience as a player and as an official in a number of sports, that when women officiate men's games they feel the need wield their power in an over-compensating manner. It never ends well.

    I'm about to sound horribly sexist, but women should stick to officiating women's games. Men should stick with men's games. The point of sports isn't about whether or not there is fair representation among officials, it's about the players.

    • But it's never, ever, ever been your experience that the men involved in your little games have had any issues with submitting to the female officials' authority, right?

  2. If it's discrimination she should be doing a Jackie Robinson and winning respect by superior competence, not destroying her credibility by whining about it.

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