The Ontario Labor Relations Board said replacement umpires can’t work at the SkyDome, but said it wouldn’t enforce the law during the Blue Jays’ first homestand.
Ontario law prohibits the use of replacement workers. Management lawyer Robert Kheel said replacement umpires would be allowed to continue working at the SkyDome this weekend for the Jays’ series against California.
The regular umpires have been locked out since their four-year contract expired Dec. 31.
The American League and acting commissioner Bud Selig had no immediate reaction.
During a hearing in Toronto on Wednesday and Thursday, lawyers for the owners said the Blue Jays might be forced to play their home games in the United States if replacements were barred from working at the SkyDome.
Joining the line
Eight striking umpires picketed outside Milwaukee County Stadium before Friday’s game and were joined briefly by Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley and other Oakland pitchers Ron Darling, Dave Stewart and Todd Van Poppel. The players spent about 15 minutes with umpires, with Stewart holding a picket sign, before going inside the ballpark only 5 minutes before the game.
Ray of hope in St. Pete
Tampa Bay’s new baseball team, the Devil Rays, is getting the go-ahead on a 30-year lease for the ThunderDome. Operations are expected to crank up in January 1998.
The lease gives the team control of managing and scheduling all events at the Dome in return for 50 cents per ticket sold for any event. The city is responsible for property insurance, traffic control and a portion of maintenance costs.
Around the A.L.
Left-handed pitcher Rheal Cormier signed a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox several hours before his scheduled start against the Chicago White Sox. With Roger Clemens on the disabled list, Cormier is the No. 2 starter in the rotation… .
Hofstra University gave baseball legend Phil Rizzuto an honorary degree for his contribution to the sport as a player and broadcaster. The broadcaster’s reaction: “Holy cow!”
Rangers 10, Indians 9
Mickey Tettleton homered twice and knocked in four runs in front of the smallest crowd in the twoyear history of Texas’ new stadium - 22,179.
Brewers 8, A’s 7 (10)
Oakland manager Tony La Russa ran on the field to argue that Fernando Vina left third too early on a sacrifice fly, but was denied by third-base umpire Bruce Ravan as Milwaukee beat the A’s.
Yankees 4, Royals 1
Kansas City, Mo.
Before a disappointing crowd of 15,026, Don Mattingly drove in all four runs and Jack McDowell won in his New York debut. The Royals, who drew fewer than 25,000 for their season opener Wednesday against Baltimore, did not even have takers for all 5,000 of their general admission seats, which are free for the first four games of the season.
Red Sox 10, White Sox 4
Boston capitalized on Chicago’s continuing control and fielding problems - 14 walks and four errors - for its second straight lopsided win.
Angels 7, Jays 6 (10)
Toronto Tim Salmon hit a solo home run with two outs in the 10th and California beat Toronto. Mitch Williams, in his first return to SkyDome since giving up the home run that lost the 1993 World Series, again had trouble with the Jays as he gave up the tying run in the eighth on Lance Parrish’s single.
Twins 12, Orioles 9
Pat Meares’ two-run single capped a five-run rally in the eighth inning as Minnesota kept Baltimore winless.
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