"That would be something," she said. "It's an honor to be here -- it's like Christmas for us to get selected. To get to the big leagues, that would be the same as a player or anybody else -- that's the goal, the top. Anyone in my profession wants to get to the top."But my goal right now is Des Moines ... to be a Pacific Coast League umpire." Cortesio, who will work one of the foul lines in Monday night's Home Run Derby, was selected out of a pool of Double-A umpires for the assignment. She said nothing unusual happened on the field Sunday or in interactions with fans, adding that she was so focused on her work that she didn't have time to consider her surroundings. Players such as World catcher George Kottaras, with whom she interacted during his time with Mobile in the Southern League, have treated her with utmost professionalism. "The one group of people that I haven't had a single problem with are the players, coaches or managers," Cortesio said. "If anything, there are some that are more respectful to me than usual." Asked what drove her as a young person to become an umpire, and to continue to hold that dream through college, she referred to "the challenge." "I don't think that people realize what a challenge it is to work games day in and day out at the professional level, always on the road," she said. "It's you against the world during the season. That's why you feel so close to your partners. You're in it together." Cortesio began the season as a substitute teacher with Minor League umpires on strike, and returned to the job after it was settled. They are given $25 a day per diem, a far cry from the $357 (also covering hotels) awarded Major League umpires. With turnover slow on the 68-man Major League umpiring staff, Cortesio knows it's a long road to the big time. She grits her teeth and continues to accept the challenge, determined to show she's good enough to do the job she always wanted.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less