HOUSTON — With the 2019 World Series underway, some of baseball's best -- and richest -- players find themselves front and center.

But what about the umpires?

While athletes' salaries have largely been public knowledge since the start of the free agency era, many remain unsure of just how the people in charge of calling balls and strikes and determining safe or out make.

The numbers might surprise you.

According to a 2018 article by Bleacher Report, the starting salary for a Major League umpire is $150,000. Seasoned umpires, however, can make significantly more, with Bleacher Report stating that MLB umpires can make as much as $450,000, plus benefits, travel expenses, etc.

Indians Yankees Baseball ejections
New York Yankees' Brett Gardner (11) argues with third base umpire Todd Tichenor after being ejected during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in New York.
Mary Altaffer/AP

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While the week of the World Series is typically about the players on the field, the league's umpires have already found themselves front and center for the wrong reasons during the Fall Classic. Shortly before first pitch of Game 2 between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros took place on Wednesday night, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the league was investigating a tweet in which MLB umpire Rob Drake stated he would by an AR-15 rifle "because if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!! #MAGA2020."

Meanwhile, hours earlier, umpire Joe West filed a defamation lawsuit against catcher-turned-podcaster Paul Lo Duca, who claimed that one of his former teammates had bribed the umpire with a car.