“Two good teams playing hard, and they were very respectful anytime they did disagree,” Barrett said. “That part of it was nice, because it’s not always that way.”
The play on the field was sloppy at times; both teams scored in the 13th inning on an infield hit and a throwing error. But Barrett and his crew had a clean, mostly quiet performance, just how umpires want it.
To help make it through, Barrett received regular supplies of water and Gatorade from the ball boy, Javier Herrera, whom he called “the M.V.P.” of the night. Herrera supplied Barrett with about 30 dozen baseballs, Barrett said, hundreds more than he needs for a typical nine-inning game, which requires 10 to 12 dozen.
Barrett also steeled himself through prayer, as Orel Hershiser did on the bench in Game 5 of the 1988 World Series, the last time the Dodgers won it all. Barrett earned a master’s degree in biblical studies from Trinity College of the Bible in Indiana in 2013 — his dissertation was titled: “An Investigation of Faith as a Life Principle in the Lives of Major League Umpires” — and he is an ordained minister.
“For me it’s a lot of prayer, it’s quoting verses in my head, and that just helps me stay focused, stay locked in,” Barrett said, mentioning the verse he leaned on most in Game 3: “‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ And it’s like, ‘You can do this.’ ”
He did, but he managed only about six hours’ sleep after the game. Fieldin Culbreth, the left-field umpire for Game 3, had even less — about five hours, he said, because his legs ached so much. The adrenaline of the World Series, and the knowledge that the long off-season is almost upon them, helps the umpires stay strong. Everyone has some discomfort.