In a follow-up to the Hey Ladies! story from Tuesday...
Ria Cortesio successfully became the first female umpire to work a major league exhibition game since Pam Postema in 1989 when she was on the bases Thursday for the Chicago Cubs' 7-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks split squad.
Her phone was ringing off the hook Thursday morning as the hype surrounding her assignment began to build.
"When I found out I had this game, my plan was to sneak in, work the game and sneak out and hope no one noticed," she said. "That didn't happen."Cortesio, 30, hustled across the infield, making her calls with an unequivocal fist pump. She blended right in with a dark blue hat, light blue shirt and gray slacks during her flawless performace at first and third base.
Cortesio is the only female umpire in professional baseball as she starts her ninth year overall and fifth in Double-A. Once she makes it to AAA, she'll be evaluated by major league umpire supervisors.
If they judged her well, she would be invited to the Fall League, then to a full schedule of major league spring training games before getting a spot as a fill-in in the majors.
That would certainly be something, since no female ump has ever worked a regular-season game in the big leagues. Cortesio obviously hopes to be the first, which she describes as the best-case scenario.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella, notorious for his run-ins with umpires over the years, had this to say on Cortesio's big league pursuit...
"I think it's good. I really do. I think there is a place for women in the umpiring ranks - they're certainly as qualified as anybody else. I'm sure if they get the same opportunities, the same schooling that their male counterparts do, they'll do a really nice job."