Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Replacement Umps Raise Few Cries of Foul

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Replacement Umps Raise Few Cries of Foul

Article excerpt

Richard Jackson runs his own construction firm in St. Charles, but he still holds a union card. He watched big-league baseball bicker in prolonged contract negotiations all winter and developed a sour taste.

The sour taste remained when he realized the major leagues would use "replacement" umpires while the regular umps picketed ballparks.

"As far as I'm concerned," Jackson said Wednesday, "baseball isn't complete until those major-league umpires are back."

Nonetheless, Jackson was at Busch Stadium for Wednesday's season-opener. He found a reason more important than principle.

He brought his son, Zane.

"I couldn't deny my 10-year-old son this opportunity," Jackson said. "He's only going to be 10 once in his life. I wanted him to see opening day as a 10-year-old."

Zane said he was aware of that big-league umpires were locked out and protesting at several ballparks.

"I didn't care," he said. "As long as the game goes on."

Wednesday's game between the Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies went on without a picket line outside the stadium. Inside, four replacement umps - two locals - worked with nary a problem out of the ordinary.

"It's BS the players won't honor their picket line," Bob Whitaker of Maryland Heights said. "But it's just nice to walk around the park, sit down and look at it all again."

He grudgingly understood it would have been impossible without umpires. The crew consisted of:

Dave Yeast, 35, of Kirkwood behind the plate. He has worked on the College World Series twice and serves as the NCAA Regional umpires coordinator.

St. Louisan Bill Davis, 48, at first base. The highlights of his long career as an umpire include NCAA Division I regionals since 1990 and the College World Series in 1994.

Bob Homolka, 51, at second base. A college math professor who lives in Salina, Kan., he has worked numerous NCAA regionals. …

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