Field of dreams: Iowa native gets call to umpire in World Series

URBANDALE, Iowa — Pat Hoberg rarely misses a call, but the MLB umpire noticed one on his cellphone after playing golf last week.

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It was from Michael Hill, MLB’s vice president of on-field operations, the Des Moines Register reported. Hoberg called back and got the news that all umpires dream about -- to participate in the World Series.

Hoberg, 36, an Iowa native who has been an MLB umpire since 2014 and a full-time arbiter since 2017, will serve as the crew’s reserve umpire Friday in Game 1 and will work behind the plate in Game 2, according to KCCI-TV. He will rotate through the bases for each game after that, the television station reported.

Hoberg said he immediately drove to his parents’ home in Urbandale to share the good news. He flew to Houston on Thursday. The Astros host Game 1 on Friday at Minute Maid Park against the Philadelphia Phillies.

“They didn’t know why I just showed up unannounced,” Hoberg told the Register. “It was a really cool moment. My grandparents were there too. We just kind of had a nice little moment as a family.”

His family members will be in attendance, KCCI reported.

Hoberg graduated from Urbandale High School and attended Grand View University in Des Moines, the Register reported. He worked 371 MLB games as a call-up umpire before his promotion to the MLB staff.

Twenty years ago, Hoberg was umpiring Little League games in Urbandale, KCCI reported. He has worked three Division Series, a Wild Card series and one League Championship Series, according to the Register. He also handled replay duties during last year’s World Series, the newspaper reported.

Hoberg worked behind the plate in his home state last year when the New York Yankees met the Chicago White Sox in the inaugural “Field of Dreams” game in Dyersville, according to the Register.

Hoberg is used to the pressure of being an umpire, but he knows the World Series is baseball’s biggest stage.

“Getting the call is one thing,” Hoberg told the Register. “I have to go out and perform now and do it to the best of my ability, and hopefully that happens and we get through the whole series.”