2 Venezuelan Blue Hombres Were Base Umpires in Caribbean Series Championship Game

Feb. 10, 2018

Terán and Navas Part of 6-Man Crew in Puerto Rico's Win in Mexico Over Dominican Squad

Venezuela-bred Jorge Terán and José Navas Corzo were two of the three base umpires on the six-man crew that officiated Puerto Rico's 9-4 victory over the Dominican Republic on Feb. 9 in the Caribbean Series championship game at Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Guadalajara, Mexico. Navas Corzo was at first base, with Terán at third.

The two minor league arbiters' fellow Blue Hombre, Ramon de Jesus Ferrer, a Dominican native, joined the Venezuela pair on another six-man crew earlier in the week-long series, with all games played this winter in Mexico's second-largest city. The Caribbean Rim version of the World Series annually includes championship teams from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

In 2017, de Jesus Ferrer did not use his mother's name but was officially known as Ramon de Jesus as major league call-up and a Triple-A Pacific Coast League. Terán was assigned to the AA Eastern League, and Navas Corzo, aka either José Navas or José Corzo, worked the Advanced-A Florida State League. All are in their 30s. The two Venezuelans are, like MLB umpire Carlos Torres, natives of their country's Lara state.


On the business route for U.S. 285, just off Interstate 25, on the far east of side of Santa Fe, N. Mex., is Bobcat Bite, site of some of the juiciest, hand-formed burgers and varied delectable, fresh veggie sides you'll find anywhere -- all reasonably priced. Keep your credit cards in your wallet because the Bobcat only bites on cash, or local personal checks. Great mid-point respite to stuff yourself en route from Colorado to Arizona any year for spring training in the Cactus League, or later in the year for Arizona Fall League games at six different Cactus circuit ballparks -- to watch Blue Hombres work games in-person, of course. (Photo by Phil Ross)

Blue Hombres de Jesus, Ortiz Among Dozen MLB Call-Up Umpires Who Worked 2017 AFL Season

Nov. 19, 2017

Puerto Rico Native Handles Home Plate Duties in Fall Circuit's Title Game

Puerto Rico native Roberto Ortiz capped off his third consecutive short season in the Arizona Fall League as home plate umpire in the 2017 AFL championship game on Nov. 18. Ortiz, who now resides in Central Florida, handled the assignment in two hours and 45 minutes; base umpires who joined him in Peoria's 8-2 victory over Mesa at Scottsdale Stadium were fellow Major League Baseball call-ups Bryan Fields, Jeremie Rehak and Garrett Patterson.

Ortiz and Dominican Republic native Ramon de Jesus were the two Latinos among the dozen arbiters selected to officiate the AFL's October/November schedule, both as repeaters from 2016.

Gerry Davis, Record-Setting Umpire for Number of Postseason Games, Picked to Head 2017 Crew in Fall Classic

Oct. 22, 2017

8 Arbiters in Field or Replay Roles Also Include Veteran Latino Umpire Laz Díaz, Who Has Separate Chapter in BLUE HOMBRES Book One

Gerry Davis, a 34-year Major League Baseball (MLB) umpiring veteran, who has called a record 128 postseason games, was selected by MLB to head the crew working the 2017 World Series match-up between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. The best-of-seven Fall Classic was scheduled to begin Oct. 24 at L.A.'s Dodger Stadium. Davis was slated to start the Series in Game One at second base.

The rest of the crew included Paul Nauert, opening at first base; Latino Laz Díaz, subject of Chapter 4 in Book One of the Phil Ross BLUE HOMBRES trilogy, at third; Bill Miller down the left-field line; Dan Iassogna along the right-field line; and Mark Wegner and Tripp Gibson in the replay booth for Games One and Two. Cuzzi and Wegner were ticketed to trade roles from Game Three forward.

Trio of Blue Hombre Umpires Handle Plate Duties on Same Day Over Weekend in AL

Sep. 11, 2017

Venezuelan, Dominican, Puerto Rican Natives Rotate Into 'Dish' Duties Simultaneously

Young veteran Carlos Torres, from Venezuela; and call-ups Ramon de Jesus, born in the Dominican Republic; and Roberto Ortiz, a native of Puerto Rico now living in Florida, all have a new wrinkle in common.

The three Blue Hombres coincidentally were the home-plate umpires the same day, Sept. 10, at different American League venues.

In Cleveland, the defending AL champion Indians posted their 18th consecutive win and right-hander Trevor Bauer captured his 16th victory in 2017, with Torres calling balls and strikes on a Dana DeMuth-led crew that also includes regulars Paul Nauert and Chris Guccione.

At Oakland, where the host Athletics pasted AL West leader Houston, 10-2,de Jesus took his plate turn; his crew, led by Sam Holbrook, also included Greg Gibson and D.J. Reyburn. The Dominican, officially still a Pacific Coast League employee, ejected Astros center-fielder Jake Marisnick in the top of the fifth inning for complaining about the strike zone after being called out looking twice.

In Toronto, where the Blue Jays beat the invading Detroit Tigers, 8-2, Ortiz, permanently an International League arbiter, was filling in for vacationing crew chief Larry Vanover. He was joined by another veteran, Alfonso "Fonzy" Marquez, first and only MLB umpire born in Mexico, at second base, and two other full-time big league umpires, Kerwin Danley and Chad Fairchild, at first and third, respectively.

Ortiz and de Jesus have been the two most frequent Blue Hombres serving "up-and-down" roles -- shuttling between the two Triple-A leagues (known as The Show Before the Show) and The Show (MLB) -- throughout the 2017 season.

Ortiz Returns to Adopted Home State for MLB Assignment; de Jesus Does One-Game Triple-A Fill-In

Sep. 7, 2017

Puerto Rican Native Revisits AAA Haunts Briefly, Then Bumps Right Back Up; Dominican Remains Mainly in Bigs But Is Called for Lone Fill-In Role in PCL Prior to Trip to Queens

The first weekend in September 2017 found Roberto Ortiz, who had spent a Syracuse-Lehigh Valley series in the Triple-A International League, back in Miami on Sept. 2 to join the Dan Iassogna crew in Miami, where the Marlins hosted Philadelphia in a National League East pairing. He was behind the plate that date when Marlin Giancarlo Stanton slammed his 52nd home run of the season.

Ortiz stayed at the MLB level for another series -- from Sept. 5-7 -- on a Dana DeMuth-led foursome working the Chicago Cubs-Pirates series in Pittsburgh. He was spelling fellow Blue Hombre, Venezuelan Carlos Torres, who almost literally "floated" over to join Jerry Meals's crew in hurricane-threatened Atlanta, where the Sept. 5 clash between the Braves and Texas Rangers was washed out. Both Ortiz and Torres remained balls and strikes at the same respective sites on Sept. 6.

Meanwhile, Dominican Ramon de Jesus, who had spent most of 2017 in the Bigs as a call-up fill-in, returned briefly to the Pacific Coast League for a one-game substitution job. Then he moved back up on Sept. 5 to join a Sam Holbrook-led quartet at Citi Field, the New York Mets' home in Queens, site of their game and series against the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies. On Sept. 6, with de Jesus calling balls and strikes, the weather forced the Phillies-Mets contest to end after six innings in an official 6-3 Mets' victory.

Also on the Blue Hombre Trail this past week was yet another milestone for a veteran umpire who annually winds up doing home plate during some notable historic occasions. Alfonso "Fonzy" Marquez, subject of Chp. 5 of Book One in Phil Ross's BLUE HOMBRES MLB Latino umpire trilogy, was behind the plate the past week for the four home-run feat by Arizona's J.D. Martinez But Fonzy also called balls and strikes in deciding Game 5 of the Royals' win over the Mets in the 2015 World Series -- a contest that lasted 12 innings and 4 1/2 hours with nary a mistake by the only native of Mexico to be a Major League Baseball arbiter.

Plus, Marquez was on the "dish" last season when the Chicago White Sox pulled off the only 9-3-2-6-2-5 triple play in baseball history against the Texas Rangers. It helped the Chisox that rotund "speedster" (NOT) Prince Fielder was at third, with runners at the corners with no outs when the play began. Thinking a sinking liner to right would drop in but was instead snagged by sliding Adam Eaton, Prince took over for home but was caught dead after a long rundown ("baseball's version of a conga line," as Ross termed it in the book) for the third out, with Fonzy making the call as Fielder trying to dive toward home.

Dominican Umpire Pioneer de Jesus Back in Bigs on Call-Up Assignment

Jul. 29, 2017

Frequent Up-and-Down Colleague Ortiz Handles Call on Unusual Play with Perfection

Ramon de Jesus, who last season became the first-ever umpire from the Dominican Republic to call a Major League Baseball (MLB) game, was back in The Show during the past week. He was assigned call-up duties in the Houston-Detroit series July 28 on an MLB crew, headed by Fieldin "Cubby" Culbreth and also including Venezuelan native Manny Gonzalez. Like de Jesus, the latter Blue Hombre was the first from his homeland to become a big league umpire several years ago.

Meanwhile, in a Triple-A International League contest at Lehigh Valley, which defeated Gwinnett, plate umpire Roberto Ortiz demonstrated good judgment, patience, timing and angle in his "safe" call on the host IronPigs' J.P. Crawford, who sped around the bases on a rare, three-run inside-the-park home run. After de Jesus, the Puerto Rican has been the second-most-frequent "up-and-down" Blue Hombre in the 2017 season.

Blue Hombres Hernández, Gonzalez Part of 2017 All-Star Arbiter Crew

Jul. 10, 2017

Meanwhile, In AAA Star Contest, No Latino Umpires This Time

Despite a lawsuit against Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred he filed last month in a federal court in Ohio, alleging bias against MLB Latino umpires, Angel Hernández, current senior Latino umpire among active arbiters, will be at first base in the 2017 All-Star Game on July 11 in Miami, Fla.

Joining him on the six-man crew will be another Blue Hombre, or Latino umpire, Venezuela native Manny Gonzalez.

Meanwhile, although no Blue Hombres are among the four umpires working the July 10 Triple-A All-Star Game in Tacoma, Wash., Billy Cunha, a Pacific Coast League veteran who has a smidgen of Portuguese ancestry, has been selected as crew chief and home plate operative. The AAA classic pits the PCL against its International League peers.

Ross-Kellogg Duo Spends Pleasant Post-Game Visit with PCL Umpire Trio of Felix, Czajak, Ceja After Iowa-Sky Sox Doubleheader in Colo. Springs

Jul. 18, 2017

For 1 Arbiter & Author, It Marks Reunion from Initial 2016 Meeting

Author Phil Ross and sidekick Bob "Gabby" Kellogg shared anecdotes and tales on July 16 in Colorado Springs with a Pacific Coast League umpire crew headed by Texan Blake Felix. The occasion was following a Triple-A doubleheader in which the host Sky Sox swept the Iowa Cubs in a pair of one-run wins, 2-1 and 5-4, the second in eight innings and decided on a passed ball. Each game was scheduled for seven innings. Had the second contest not finished as it did, it would have resulted in a final, 4-4 tie due to the league's "curfew" rule, which dictated that no inning begin after 4 p.m because of travel necessities.

The post-game chat with Felix, fellow Lone Star resident Matt Czajak and first-year Triple-A partner Nestor Ceja resulted in a reunion for Ross and Czajak, who initially met last year. Ceja and Czajak both are instructors at the Minor League Baseball Umpire Academy in the offseason. If Ceja, who grew up in Southern California, eventually secures a full-time major league post, he would be the second MLB umpire born in Mexico, after Alfonso Marquez.

Up-and-Down Guys de Jesus, Ortiz Channeling Fellow Blue Hombres Torres, Morales in 1st Half of 2017 Season

Jun. 25, 2017

Dominican Umpire Pioneer Remains in Bigs on 1 Crew; Puerto Rican-Turned-Floridian Follows 2-Week MLB Duties with Temporary Return to Triple-A IL

Treading a very similar set of paths taken by Venezuela's Carlos Torres and Northern Californian Gabe Morales during the 2016 Major League Baseball (MLB) season, the Dominican Republic's Ramon de Jesus stayed in the "penthouse" the past week, while Puerto Rico native Roberto Ortiz, who now lives in Florida, returned to his for-now permanent home in the Triple-A International League. The first-ever MLB arbiter from his homeland, de Jesus continued to fill in for Scott Barry on a Paul Emmel-led crew that also includes Brian O'Nora, with a June 24 plate assignment in Washington, D.C., his latest gig. Ortiz, meanwhile, followed his recent two-week journey in the majors by re-joining the IL on a four-man crew that included three non-Latino partners.

In 2016, call-up Carlos Torres, while officially still an IL employee, spent the whole season with veteran Gerry Davis's crew. Morales, assigned technically to the Pacific Coast League, called most of his games the majority of the same campaign floating from one MLB foursome to another.

Also working regularly in the IL in '17 are Charlie Ramos and Robert Moreno. In the AAA PCL, which holds de Jesus's permanent contract, the other Blue Hombres are Nestor Ceja and David Arrieta.

Hybrid 'Joe West' MLB Crew Patched Together In Wake of Chief's 5,000th Game, Mate Fletcher's Injury During Plate Assignment for D-Backs'-Rockies' Battle for Top in Tight NL West Race

Jun. 22, 2017

Foursome's Regular Partner Alan Porter Takes Plate in Series Finale at Coors Field, Joined By 'Floaters' Kulpa & Blaser Plus Call-Up Whitson

Four non-Latino MLB umpires, who have worked many games in The Show and in the minor leagues with various Blue Hombre Latino crew mates, comprised a makeshift "Joe West" crew that worked the June 22 afternoon finale of the Arizona Diamondbacks' series triumph over the host National League West rival Colorado Rockies.

A day before the game at Coors Field -- which was witnessed in-person by Phil Ross, author of the BLUE HOMBRES book trilogy in conjunction with research for the three-volume collection's upcoming Book Two -- the scribe visited with West, Porter and Kulpa in their downtown Denver hotel lobby. The amiable get-together also occurred the day following the durable West's 5,000th regular-season game as a major league umpire. In retrospect, Ross, himself a former longtime college and high school umpire, felt badly because one of the anecdotes he shared with them involved describing the use of an unexpected batted ball to the face mask for psychological purposes during prep or college contests.

Then, unfortunately, a few hours after the former and current arbiters politely parted company, Andy Fletcher, the fourth member of West's crew (who had not met with the author in the hotel lobby), was seriously injured and hospitalized in the top of the seventh inning of that evening's Arizona-Colorado game. A deflection off an Arizona batter's hand of a 97-plus mile-per-hour pitch had hit Fletcher directly in the face mask.

Consequently, with West scheduled for an appointment in Kansas City on June 22 and Fletcher sidelined, and Kulpa already filling in for Hunter Wendelstedt, the hybrid crew wound up matching Porter and Kulpa with full-time MLB umpire Cory Blaser and call-up Chad Whitson, a Triple-A International League veteran.

Dominican Finishes Most Recent Week Handling 1st Base on Adopted MLB Crew; Puerto Rican-Born Colleague Completes Latest 2-Week Stint in The Show Before Plate Assignment at AAA Indy

Jun. 19, 2017

PCL-Assigned de Jesus Remains in Bigs with Latest Call-Up Fill-In Duty in

Ramon de Jesus, first and only Major League Baseball (MLB) umpire from the Caribbean island nation of the Dominican Republic, continued his latest stay in The Show at first base in a 2-1 Milwaukee victory over visiting San Diego on Father's Day, June 18; he still was spelling Scott Barry on a Brian O'Nora crew with regulars Paul Emmel and Chris Wolcott. The 33-year-old de Jesus is officially assigned to the AAA Pacific Coast League in his dual up-and-down and fill-in "floater" role. He continued with O'Nora's crew in the new week for a series pitting the San Francisco Giants against the Braves at Atlanta's new SunTrust Park.

The Dominican's fellow Caribe islander, Roberto Ortiz, who hails from Puerto Rico but now resides in Florida, has operated mostly as a call-up on various MLB crews thus far in June, yet began a new week on June 19 behind the plate in the International League, with Toledo's Mud Hens flapping their wings in the collective faces of the host Indianapolis Indians.

Ramon de Jesus Remaining Mostly at Big League Level in Call-Up Duties Similar to 2016 Campaign

Jun. 12, 2017

1st MLB Arbiter from Dominican Republic, Although AAA PCL Employee, Enjoying Being 'Up' in MLB 'Temp' Job

Just as he did on various umpire crews most of the previous season, Ramon de Jesus finds himself working mostly in Major League Baseball (MLB) so far in the 2017 campaign. The first-ever MLB umpire from the Dominican Republic, although officially a Triple-A employee of the Pacific Coast League, de Jesus began the current week handling a Baltimore Orioles-White Sox series at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field on June 12 as part of a Paul Emmel-headed crew; the Dominican was positioned at third base, substituting for Scott Barry, accompanied by Emmel, Brian O'Nora and Chris Wolcott. A stint behind the plate was de Jesus's duty in a 5-2 Sox win to close the series on June 15.

Meanwhile, Venezuela's David Arrieta and Californian Nestor Ceja continued their respective initial turns as AAA umpires in the PCL, as did two other Blue Hombres, Venezuelan Roberto Moreno and Michigander Charlie Ramos, in the International League.

Roberto Ortiz Lengthens Call-Up Assignments As MLB Umpire By Working Series on Both Coasts

May. 31, 2017

Puerto Rico-Born, IL Crew Chief Does NYC Game, Moves to Nation's Capital, Handles Plate for Scherzer's 13-Strikeout, 3-Hit Gem, Bounces Back to Big Apple, Then Caps Off 2-Week Stint in The Show at San Diego

It seems that a degree in Physical Education and several years in the off-season of P.E. teaching in Kentucky are increasingly becoming mere figments in Roberto Ortiz's rear-view mirror, as his professional umpiring progress continues to sizzle on the front burner.

Born in Puerto Rico 32 years ago, the Major League Baseball (MLB) call-up umpire, who moved to Central Florida recently after three years in Kentucky teaching high school, is becoming a regular fixture in The Show. Most recently, after completing a previous single-game gig at Yankee Stadium, Ortiz joined the arbiter crew of veteran Jerry Layne to handle a three-game series from May 26-28 between the host Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres; also on the Layne crew were regulars Dan Bellino and Mike Estabrook, with Ortiz substituting for Marvin Hudson. Ortiz did the plate in a 13-strikeout, three-hit performance by Nats' right-hander Max Scherzer, a two-time Cy Young Award winner.

When that series in the Nation's Capital ended, Ortiz hooked up with another veteran crew chief, Fieldin "Cubby" Culbreth, and the latter's partners, CB Bucknor and Ortiz's fellow Blue Hombre, Venezuelan Manny Gonzalez, for a Milwaukee Brewers/New York Mets series that began on May 30 at Citi Field.

Ortiz was filling in for Mark Carlson, who returned to Cubby's crew on June 3. with Carlson back, Ortiz found himself at San Diego's Petco Park on Brian Gorman's crew with Dan Iassogna and Tripp Gibson, III, in the division-leading Colorado Rockies' NL West series over the host Padres. The reliable call-up was behind the plate on June 4.

The Puerto Rican returned on June 5 to the Triple-A International League to join new partners Ryan Additon, Jeremie Rehak and Adam Beck in working an All-North Carolina contest between the legendary Durham Bulls and host Carolina Knights.

So far in 2017, Ortiz has been paired at times on four-man big league crews with fellow Blue Hombres Gonzalez and Northern Californian Gabe Morales, Latino arbiters who are full-time members of the MLB staff.

Other Blue Hombres working this season in AAA ball include Southern California's Nestor Ceja, Ramon de Jesus of the Dominican Republic and Venezuelan David Arrieta in the Pacific Coast League, and Michigander Charlie Ramos and another Venezolano, Roberto Moreno, in the IL. Enjoying the second-most number of MLB call-up gigs in 2017, behind Ortiz, is de Jesus, first-ever big league umpire from his country. This past week, de Jesus was on his normal PCL crew with Nick Mahrley, Garrett Patterson and Derek Eaton to officiate the Memphis Redbirds-New Orleans Baby Cakes series at the Crescent City's new Shrine on Airline.

Rainout in Final Game of Royals-Yankees Series Doesn't Dampen Spirits of Call-Up Umpire Roberto Ortiz

May. 26, 2017

IL-Assigned Regular Maintains Consistent Up-and-Down Status with Back-to-Back Base Assignments in AL Inter-Divisional Series in Big Apple

Regular Triple-A International League (IL) Crew Chief Roberto Ortiz is repeating last season's status as an up-and-down Major League Baseball (MLB) umpire so far in 2017. This campaign, however, the native Puerto Rican, who now calls Central Florida home, already has logged five MLB games -- all but one at second base, all but one at night at New York's Yankee Stadium, and as part of three different crews.

Although the May 25 scheduled series finale matching the Kansas City Royals and host Pinstripes was postponed due to rain, Ortiz worked the previous two nights pitting the same two American League (AL) rivals against each other at the latest remodeled version of The House That Ruth Built. Substituting for Marvin Hudson on Jerry Layne's crew, along with Layne regulars Dan Bellino and Mike Estabrook, Ortiz did second base on May 23 and moved to first on May 24. With Ortiz employed temporarily in The Show, it left his IL crew mates of John Bacon, Ryan Willis and Brennan Miller as a three-man combo in The Show Before the Show at the AAA level. Also IL regulars on different crews this season are two Blue Hombres with varied Triple-A rookie arbiter status -- third-year Venezuelan Roberto Moreno and Michigan's Charlie Ramos, who moved up from Double-A ball.

In His First Official Season as Full-time MLB Umpire, Venezuelan Carlos Torres Takes Charge, Ejects 3 After Dodgers, host Marlins Have 9th-Inning Brouhaha

May. 22, 2017

Home Plate Arbiter Witnesses Enough of 'Beanball' Tactics, Exchange of Baseball Revenge, Sends Manager, Coach, Player to Showers

Venezuelan Carlos Torres had his first ejection, as a season-long call-up on veteran Major League Baseball (MLB) umpire Gerry Davis's crew, in 2016. On a dispute over a swinging strike-or-foul ball call during a New York Mets-Colorado Rockies contest at Denver's Coors Field in the summer of '16, Torres "tossed" Mets Manager Terry Collins for a profanity-laced protest.

Torres, typically a patient yet emphatic game manager when working the plate, had seen enough in that role recently as part of a Dana DeMuth-led crew that also includes Paul Nauert and Chris Guccione. On May 19 in Miami, Torres ejected Marlins Manager Don Mattingly, a former Dodgers player and manager; L.A. Bench Coach Bob Geren; and visiting relief pitcher Ross Stripling. The ejections were precipitated after each side''s hurlers had hit opposing batters with pitches, prompting first a warning, then ultimately the ejections, which resulted directly from both dugouts emptying and swarming the infield for a short rhubarb.

Torres, who resides in central Florida during the long season, is featured in Chapter 8 of Ross's book, BLUE HOMBRES: The Life and Times of Major League Baseball's Latino Umpires, First of a Trilogy. Parts 2 and 3 of the trilogy are scheduled for respective releases during the 2017 All-Star Break in mid-July and World Series time in late October.

Puerto Rican Ortiz, Dominican de Jesus Again Going Up and Down from Triple-A to MLB, Similar to 2016

May. 16, 2017

BLUE HOMBRE Pair Repeating Last Season's Role as 'Mr. Fix-It'

Over the past week or more, Puerto Rico native Roberto Ortiz and Ramon de Jesus, first and only Dominican Republic-born Major League Baseball umpire, have been logging extra time on airplane flights or lengthy rental-car drives.

Last season, along with current new full-time MLB arbiters Gabe Morales and Venezuelan Carlos Torres, they were the two most active Blue Hombres who were frequent call-ups from the two Triple-A leagues -- Ortiz and Torres from the International (IL), de Jesus and Morales from the Pacific Coast (PCL).

The trend is continuing so far in 2017 for the pair, whose full-time contracts still are in their respective AAA leagues.

Three times over the past week-plus, Ortiz has been called up from his IL crew chief role to work single MLB substitution assignments -- two in New York's Yankee Stadium, where he was at first base with Morales at the plate on May 14, and the night earlier in the month following the first Gotham job at second base with a similar niche at Milwaukee's Miller Park. The pairing of Ortiz and Morales was a rare occasion when more than one Latino umpire worked the same contest in The Show.

The Dominican, meanwhile, has been spending hours behind the wheel in base placements for different big league series with the host Colorado Rockies at Denver's Coors Field, sandwiched around a four-game Sky Sox home series at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs. In the Springs, he became a fourth on a normal three-man crew led by Morales's fellow Northern California native, Billy Cunha.

All MLB Umpire Crews That Include Blue Hombres Are Active & In Motion

Apr. 20, 2017

Roberto Ortiz Gets Early Call-Up from Triple-A IL in Game at Yankee Stadium, Then Shifts to Milwaukee for 1 Game

Major League Baseball (MLB) has 19 full-time umpire crews, and Blue Hombres Angel Hernández, Laz Díaz, Alfonso Marquez, Manny Gonzalez, Carlos Torres and Gabe Morales are regulars on six different crews so far early in the first weeks of the 2017 season.

Additionally, Puerto Rican-turned-Floridian Roberto Ortiz made his 2017 debut as a call-up on Tom Hallion's crew on April 19, working second base in a night game at Yankee Stadium, where the Pinstripes routed the visiting Chicago White Sox, 9-1. The next evening, after boarding a flight to Milwaukee and despite a serious head cold that began his week in an International League (IL) game in Durham, N. Car., on April 16, he stayed at second base on Ted Barrett's crew, as the Brewers hosted the St. Louis Cardinals in a National Central contest. Ortiz's permanent contract this season is with the AAA IL, so the call-up rejoined his three-man IL crew for an April 21 night game at Lehigh Valley, making an air connection to the eastern Pennsylvania via a long layover in Detroit. The next day -- in the nightcap of a Toledo-at-Lehigh doubleheader, Ortiz called balls and strikes, efficiently completing plate duties in only two hours and eight minutes, in the second of two seven-inning contests.

The second of three Blue Hombres on the regular IL arbiter roster this season, Venezuelan Roberto Moreno, started the week on the bases in an all-Upstate New York doubleheader -- one game a make-up of a rain delay -- pitting host Rochester against Syracuse on April 19. Moreno finished the same week on April 22 in a 1-0 shutout of the Indianapolis Indians by the invading Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders -- the second consecutive day of the exact-same result.

IL rookie umpire Charlie Ramos, a Blue Hombre from Marshall, Mich., who worked the AA Eastern League in 2016, was at second base on a four-man crew that handled a mid-week series in which the Syracuse Chiefs faced the visiting Toledo Mud Hens. Moreno, meanwhile, also did a four-man simultaneous stint in Indianapolis, which faced the Durham Bulls.

Week-ending activity for IL Blue Hombres started on April 21 at Norfolk, where visiting Syracuse's three pitchers combined for a five-hit, 14-strikeout shutout over the Tides, with Ramos behind the plate and doing the job in just two hours and 17 minutes. He was at third base April 22 in the Chiefs' 9-4 victory over Norfolk.

Moreno also officiated an April 21 blank job -- at second base, as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre defeated host Indianapolis, 1-0.

Blue Hombre Trio in PCL Carve Varied Paths in Past Week

Apr. 23, 2017

MLB Call-Up Veteran de Jesus, Triple-A First-Timers Arrieta, Ceja Comprise Multi-Nation Complement on Different Umpire Crews

In Pacific Coast League (PCL) scenarios featuring Blue Hombre umpires the past week, Venezuela's David Arrieta's assignments started in the Round Rock-Iowa series on April 16, while the work week for frequent 2016 big league call-up Ramon de Jesus, a native of the Dominican Republic, got into gear the same day when Fresno's Grizzlies visited the Salt Lake Bees.

As the week progressed, Arrieta's three-man crew found themselves in a mid-week, Nashville-at-Oklahoma City series. Meanwhile, Tacoma's Rainiers opened a series against the host El Paso Chihuahuas with a 4-3 loss, as de Jesus did home plate in just over 2 1/2 hours on April 18. Californian Nestor Ceja enjoyed a similar-length outing the same day, watching the "dish" in the Las Vegas 51s' series-opening win over host Fresno. By April 22, plate umpire Arrieta saw first-hand as four Colorado Springs pitchers combined for a dozen whiffs in a 5-2 Sky Sox home loss to Nashville.

Triple-A Leagues Have 3 Blue Hombres Each to Stock 2017 Umpiring Crews

Apr. 4, 2017

Ortiz, Moreno Begin Another Season in IL, Joined by Newcomer Ramos; PCL Finds Returnee de Jesus, AAA Rookies Ceja, Arrieta

The International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL), the two Triple-A baseball leagues that serve as direct spawning grounds for Major League Baseball (MLB) call-up umpires every season, boast three Blue Hombres arbiters each at the outset of the 2017 season.

Roberto Ortiz, the Puerto Rican-turned-Floridian who was a call-up several times in 2017, and second-year IL operative Roberto Moreno, a Venezuelan, are joined in the easternmost circuit by Charlie Ramos, a Michigan-based Latino who was assigned to the AA Eastern League last season.

In the PCL, frequent 2016 call-up and first Dominican Republic-born umpire to work major league games, Ramon de Jesus, returns, with AA veterans David Arrieta, a Venezuelan from the Southern League, and Nestor Ceja, a Southern California Latino who officiated in the Texas League, moving up a notch.

Ortiz and de Jesus are widely regarded to be the first -- and likely most frequent -- call-ups to The Bigs during the 2017 schedule.