This belle of the ball field has been officiating games for the New York Mets for the past 25 years. She’s part of an elite group of lady umps, less than a dozen in the U.S., who have umpired for major leaguers during their training season or in minor league games.
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Barber actively works 150-200 games per year and annually spends about 8-10 months on the road.
While her gender certainly brings its fair share of heckling from the crowd, Barber says she’s right at home behind the plate. “I like everything about umpiring,” she says. “I like the culture, the camaraderie with my partners. I like the lifestyle, the travel. I like all the rituals we engage in.”
But the ball park hasn’t always been home sweet home for Barber. In her past life she had a ten-year career as a singer/songwriter, opening for the likes of Bruce Springstein, Hall & Oates and David Brenner. Today, her life feels like a perfect game. Although she still plans on umping for some time, her focus is shifting towards inspiring the next generation of women umpires; she hopes that in her lifetime she’ll see a woman umpire in a regular season MLB game.
My Generation’s Diane Roberts takes us out to the ball game to get the full count.