A professional’s take on the possibilty of more female umpires

From SABR member Peter Schiller at Baseball Reflections, talking with fellow SABR member Perry Barber, on January 12, 2012:

After reading the recent article on SB Nation by Wendy Thurm entitled, “Will Expanded Replay Lead to More Women Umpires?” I just had to ask my friend, professional umpire Ms. Perry Lee Barber what her take on this article was and this was her “classic” response to it!:

First, the title. Hilarious! “Will Expanded Replay Lead to More Women Umpires?“ More? How about ANY? Other than this minor quibble with the title – which implies that there are women umps already in pro ball, which as we both know is currently (and has been for the last four years, going on five) not the case. I found the article to be excellently researched and presented, particularly by someone who isn’t an umpire herself and hasn’t experienced firsthand the double whammy we women encounter of having to earn respect from both our peers/partners as well as from spectators and athletic administrators used to viewing umpires in general as enemy aliens rather than allies. I find Ms. Thurm’s insights into Tim McClelland‘s take on the possibilities of women becoming successful pro umpires quite amazing, since she interprets them as being negative when most people who read them will think they’re a positive endorsement of women as umpires. They’re not, and Ms. Thurm nails it, and this is why.


It’s these small, constant, everyday, subliminal digs at our capabilities, the implied attitude that we are still, in this day and age, not worthy, not equal, not up to the task of shouldering the burdens of “complaints and problems you go through as an umpire,” that are a much greater impediment to our progress in baseball than the loud, overt, obviously sexist and disrespectful attitudes that are much more easily identified and dispelled than the thousand tiny slings and arrows similar to McClelland’s comment that we must suffer and deflect every day. It’s infinitely harder to fight something that’s nearly invisible than something you can point a finger at and say positively, “Aha! That’s sexist or racist, and it’s not acceptable.” How does one point a finger at inertia?


Read the full article here: http://baseballreflections.com/2012/01/12/a-professionals-take-on-more-women-umpires-in-mlb-due-to-expanded-instant-replay/

Related link: Read SABR member Wendy Thurm’s article “Will Expanded Replay Lead to More Women Umpires?” (Baseball Nation)

Originally published: January 12, 2012. Last Updated: January 12, 2012.