THE OTHER SIDE OF SPORTS (TOO)

By on July 29, 2010

CLEARWATER, Fl. (RSE)–Okay campers last offering we enlightened you in this fine publication about the good and generous side of the late Mr. George Steinbrenner.  Now how about showing the unintentional side of helping an individual move on towards one’s goal?  Well not really just prolong other’s agony.

You see fans on July 27, 2002 Roger Clemens was pitching a rehab start for the Tampa Yankees at then Legend’s Field in Tampa against the Sarasota Red Sox.  Just 12-wins at the time from the magical 300 Roger drew much interest from George as he was in attendance.

Also in attendance as home plate umpire that night was Ria Cortesio, the last woman professional umpire and if I remember right pony tail and all.  Not sure on that one as my memory fades me from time-to-time.

Ria was in the fourth season of her nine season pro career that saw here work the bases in 2007 at one major league spring training game along five regular seasons at Double-A, reaching the position of crew chief.  She also worked a Futures Game during an All-Star break if I remember correctly.

Now how did she get to Double-A might you ask as it really wasn’t on her ability or charm.  On and off the field she had the knack of rubbing people the wrong way, much like I have done from time-to-time.

Well that particular Saturday evening George met with the assembled media (two writers, one TV cameraman and one poor guy doing print and radio) for his thoughts as he was about to enter his chauffeured Jag.

After a positive comment or two about Clemens, George lit into the negative side of the evening’s events.

“He had a second string catcher which was a mistake,” said George, “Our regular catcher is hurt and you got a female umpire, it’s a tough thing to cover.  Nothing against females but for Roger she was probably as excited as anyone in the stands.”

Heck Clemens thought afterwards of Cortesio that, “She was pretty good, she was great.  I told her before that last inning (fifth) that this was probably it for me and that I enjoyed it.  She said thank you,” but not George.  This especially when he was told that the young lady had umpired Clemens’ kids Little League games in 1996 or 97 in Katy, Texas.

“It was good,” said George of Cortesio umpiring Roger’s kid’s games, “Maybe she will go back there. …I don’t know how far she is going in her fourth year of professional baseball.”

Well George your comments did put things in motion that got her five more seasons in the pros, a period that when her name is now mentioned in certain baseball circles not a word is mention, just a collective groan!

Ria did get five more years thanks in part to George, probably a couple more than she should have but like the book on her preecesor Pam Postum she was,” Good behind plate, weak on the bases.”

A while back at WZZZ AM1300 in Fulton, N.Y. I took on a female intern that had more business being the sports director than I did and did yours truly take the crap for the other media members.  Joanne Walker-Valerio could do the job (radio/print) better than most college grads which she was but the work ethic by the others just wasn’t there, the politics was.  Unfortunately it will always will be.

Now to leave you with a bit of humor, remembering yours truly is only delivering the unnamed persons quote.

At a Florida State League game in 2002 a scout said of Ria, “She is the only umpire who doesn’t need a chest protector.”

So until then…

Categories: Baseball, Other Side of Sports (Too), Sports
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