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Updated: Mar 5, 2023

Carla Pinder is few and far between in the baseball world. She’s a female in a male-dominated industry – umpiring. There are just over 400 fully accredited umpires in Australia and only about a handful females plying their trade at the top level. Carla is one of them. She first started umpiring fifteen years ago when her son’s baseball club needed some more help calling the balls and strikes during games. She’s never looked back. “Every game is a highlight,” Pinder says. “I try to treat them all the same because that’s what players deserve.” Her resume includes state titles for Little League, Junior League, Senior League, U14, U16, U18 and Women’s. She’s a regular at Little League, Junior League and Women’s National Championships. Pinder umpires the ABL Women’s baseball showcase. She’s of course a regular on her local state league Division 1 games. It hasn’t always been easy for Pinder, she says she’s been greeted with two different ways of people taking her on board. “There is a: ‘that’s amazing! That’s awesome!’ and really no different treatment to anyone else,” says Pinder. “Then we do have the extreme where I did have a coach when I first started say: ‘women don’t belong on the field and I will make sure you quit’. Pinder says a change in culture will be required to help increase participation in general, especially how people view the on field officials. “As umpires we’re expected to go out there and be perfect and get better,” she says. “Do we put that expectation on players and coaches? No. We teach them they can allow to grow and get better. But for some reason there’s this expectation of an umpire that you should never make a mistake and get better at that. How?” As for increasing women’s participation? There needs to be another change. “Shut down the boys club. There’s a boys club mentality for some people. Let the girls in. We’re actually good people and we’re good at what we do.” If you’d like to get involved in umpiring, Carla says it’s a fantastic and rewarding challenge. Pinder says she does it because it’s a great blend of mind and body. “It’s physical,” says Pinder. “We don’t just stand and call balls and strikes. We have to move to give ourselves the best opportunity to cover the field. You’re doing something that keeps you mobile. And the application of rules you need to have is phenomenal because there are so many different applications So basically I’m a ‘Fit Nerd’. You can listen to the full episode below or at this link.

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