If the regular umpires succeed in barring replacements from the SkyDo
TORONTO (AP) _ If the regular umpires succeed in barring replacements from the SkyDome, the American League says the Toronto Blue Jays may have to play in the United States.
Gordon Kirke, a lawyer for the league, told a three-man Ontario Labor Relations Board panel Thursday that if it prohibits replacements from working in the province, then the Blue Jays would have to ``seriously consider″ playing their home games elsewhere.
``That could be the likely result,″ he said. ``That’s not meant to be a threat, but a practicality.″
When owners planned to use replacement players, Toronto prepared to play its home games at Dunedin, Fla., the Blue Jays’ spring training site.
The locked-out umpires want replacements barred from SkyDome under the provincial law prohibiting replacement workers. Baseball lawyers say the law doesn’t apply because umpires aren’t employed by a Canadian company, but by the American League, an unincorporated association based in New York.
The labor board recessed the two-day hearing without issuing a decision. Chairman Rick MacDowell didn’t give any indication as to when a ruling will come.
Umpires have been locked out since Jan. 1 by owners, and replacements have worked all games, including Toronto’s first two games at the SkyDome.
On Thursday at Cincinnati, first-base umpire Bob Hernandez called Bret Boone out on a grounder, then reversed the call after consulting with home plate umpire Larry Randall, who worked the 1992 College World Series. The change allowed Hal Morris to score, tying the game 4-4.
``I bobbled the ball,″ Cubs first baseman Mark Grace said. ``The Reds deserved the run. I tried to fake it as much as possible.″
Cincinnati also argued in the 10th when Reggie Sanders was thrown out at first on a close play.
``They’re not good,″ Morris said. ``They’re not as qualified as major league umpires. Everybody knows that. What can you do?″
At Arlington, Texas, replacement umpire Darrel Mason ejected Cleveland pitcher Dennis Cook in the eighth inning of the Indians’ 11-6 win after Rusty Greer hit a ball down the left-field line for a two-run homer. Cook argued the ball was foul.
``I never made contact with the umpire and I don’t know if he had a quick trigger or not, because I’ve never been thrown out of a game before,″ Cook said. ``I’m trying to make a living. It’s hard enough, then you have to fight everybody else.″
``I think if the umpire saw the replay he would have called it foul,″ Indians manager Mike Hargrove said.