Back to Work

Minor League Baseball announced on Friday that the sport's umpires, previously on strike since April 6, had reached a new six-year agreement that could put said umpires back on the job by early next month.

A press release handed down to all minor league clubs from MiLB Friday said representatives of Minor League Baseball and the Association of Minor League Umpires (AMLU) reached a tentative agreement on the six-year deal late Thursday evening.

The two sides reportedly came to an agreement after two days of intervention in Cincinnati earlier in the week. The agreement would put an end to MiLB's replacement umpires, who have often drawn ire from coaches, scouts and various team officials over the past month.

AMLU attorney Robert Weaver said in the release, "Our Committee is pleased that the mediation process we proposed has resulted in a deal that will get our membership back on the field where they belong."

Replacement umpires and various other substitute members of officiating crews in other professional sports are a longtime target of criticism from sports teams and players over the years.

Such was the case last weekend when Triple-A Albuquerque manager Dean Treanor repeatedly voiced his on-field objections to several calls made against his team in their series with the New Orleans Zephyrs.

Treanor was never ejected in the New Orleans series, but he had been tossed by replacement umpires in one game previously this season.

"It's something that we have to deal with," Treanor said of the replacement umps. "I know they're trying. I've talked to all of them and they all seem like good guys. They've been put in a difficult situation and one that we as teams have to make the best of. I've been jaw-to-jaw with the other guys, too."

On a lighter note, the colorful Treanor threw in a friendly jab at Cubs top prospect Felix Pie (P-AY) after watching the organization's highly touted five-tool talent rack up 12 hits in 30 at-bats and drive in eight runs against his Isotopes team in seven games this season.

"I think he pronounces his last name wrong," Treanor joked. "I think it would serve him better to go with Pie. You know, like the dish? That way, you have a lot more options. He's a pretty good player."

If the proposed agreement between AMLU and MiLB is ratified, umpires could return to work on or before May 8.

"We are pleased that we can put behind us the uncertainty associated with any strike, and concentrate on another great Minor League season," said George Yund, an attorney representing Minor League Baseball in the agreement process.

Steve Holley is the publisher of Inside The Ivy. In addition to his work for Scout.com, he also covers Nicholls State University athletics for the Tri-Parish Times in southeast Louisiana. E-mail Steve at staff@insidetheivy.com.


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