Umpire Ted Barrett living for Christ as he works fifth career World Series

Longtime MLB umpire Ted Barrett once again finds himself on baseball’s biggest state as one of the seven umpires working the 2021 World Series between the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves. He served as the crew chief for Houston’s 7-2 victory in Game 2 on Wednesday night (as primary crew chief Tom Hallion was the reserve umpire).

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This is the fifth time Barrett’s worked the Fall Classic, making him the most experienced member of this year’s crew. He was also a part of the 2007, 2011, 2014 and 2018 World Series.

A full-time MLB umpire since 1999, Barrett holds the distinction of being the only umpire to be behind the plate for two perfect games: David Cone’s in 1999 and Matt Cain’s in 2012. He was also calling balls and strikes for the longest game in World Series history, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 3-2 win in 18 innings over the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the 2018 series.

In addition to being among the most accomplished umpires in baseball, Barrett earned a doctorate in theology from Trinity College and is the co-founder of Calling for Christ, a ministry specifically aimed at umpires. The organization hosts an annual retreat and cares for the spiritual needs of umpires during the season.

Barrett said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in January that CFC has seen umpires come with no faith background and become believers. Others may have drifted away from God and CFC helps make their faith a priority again.

“I’m really proud of not just the guys that have come through the minor leagues and come to the big leagues, [have] become major league umpires that are part of the ministry, but we have guys that’ve gotten out, become doctors, lawyers, pastors,” Barrett said. “Guys go to seminary and they come back and pour into us, too.”

Barrett also said 2020 was a time for him to grow in his relationship with the Lord. He and other umpires were preparing for the 2020 season when the coronavirus shut down the sports world, leaving Barrett and everyone else in baseball unsure when they’d be able to get back on the field. With no games to travel to, the 56-year-old was able to spend more one-on-one time with God.

“It was great that life just kind of slowed down for me … You’re so busy, you get up in the morning and you’re going, and God just, I felt Him telling me to slow down and spend more time with Him,” he said. “So that was the good part.”

When Barrett returned for the shortened 2020 season, he did so in stadiums without fans, which offered a different type of experience. He was part of the backup crew for the World Series, which required him to quarantine with the other replacement umpires in case someone on the crew tested positive.

The absence of thousands of screaming fans allowed Barrett to hear more from the dugouts and gain a better understanding of how players interact with each other.

He acknowledged on the podcast just how much of a difference fans make at the ballpark after calling games with cardboard cutouts in the stands.

“The fans bring so much energy, especially when you get into the big games and the sold-out games,” Barrett said. “They’re loud. So it was tough. Sometimes you had to kind of create your own energy in an empty stadium.”

The energy from fans has returned in 2021, especially in the first two games of this year’s World Series in Houston. The series moves to to Truist Park in Atlanta for Game 3 Friday at 8:09 p.m. ET. Barrett is scheduled to be behind the plate for Game 5, which takes place Sunday.

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