Cuba’s female umpire breaking barriers

Cuban umpire Yanet Moreno In the macho world of Cuban baseball, Yanet Moreno has always played with the boys.

As a child, she was the only girl to play street baseball in her neighborhood. The boys would fight to get her on their team, and her father feared she would become a tomboy.

Today, at 39, she is the only woman in the world umpiring top-flight professional baseball. She is in her 11th season in the National Series, Cuba’s premier baseball league, and says she is ready for the international stage.

“One always dreams of more, no? I want a little bit more,” said Moreno, naming the Central American Games, Pan American Games and the World Baseball Classic as tournaments she wants to work.

“I don’t think it’s out of reach,” she said of the Classic, where the best players in the world compete for their countries every four years. “If I work a little bit harder, I could do it.”

She is no longer considered an oddity in Cuban baseball, and fan reaction has diminished. She projects a steely calm on the field, her gaze covered with sunglasses.

There are few female umpires currently working men’s baseball around the world.

Maite Bullones, a Venezuelan, has umpired in her country’s minor leagues and is set this week to become the first woman to work an international men’s tournament at a 21-and-under Baseball World Cup in Taiwan, but she has still not worked in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.

In the United States, no woman has ever broken into Major League Baseball, and no woman has umpired in the U.S. minor leagues since 2008.

Read More At Reuters.