Terri, who has been married to Bob for 13 years, has a somewhat different view of the Postema situation. "If this is what she [Postema] chooses to do, fine," says Terri. "I don't feel a woman umpire is in a position of authority over men. If she's rooming or dressing with men, then it's not all right. I reminded Bob he is in no position to dictate what people should or shouldn't do."
Several Astros believe that Knepper, as is his wont, overanalyzed the question of women umpiring and got himself into trouble. "Bob puts in a great deal of time and effort to come to the right conclusions," says second baseman Bill Doran. "When you put in as much thought as Bob does, you could probably change your mind four or five times before you figure out what you actually think."
Terri agrees: "Bob sometimes goes too deep into things. You get confused if you go too far. I don't know if he can help it. You can't stop your mind."
Knepper holds rigid opinions about other aspects of baseball as well. He says he is disgusted by the cheating he sees in the National League—the scuffed balls and the corked bats—but he refuses to name the lawbreakers, saying his religious beliefs keep him from being a tattletale. "Umpires are afraid to check for scuffed balls," says Knepper. "They're intimidated by pitchers. I've seen them call for balls, look directly at the pitcher, but never once look at the ball. I grew up naive. It has been hard to adjust from the game I dreamed about as a kid to baseball in the real world."
The only perfect world for Knepper seems to be Wilbur (pop. 47). He and Terri scoured Idaho, Montana, Utah and Oregon before finding their paradise. "We wanted to settle into an area that had no promise for expansion," Knepper says. "A place that was totally isolated."
He bought the ranch to help teach his children values, shield them from drugs and protect them from what he sees as the promiscuity of modern times. "People are slaves to their carnal desires," says Knepper. "Since the Beatles burst onto the scene, there hasn't been any romance in music. Nobody sings about love anymore. Society is so information-oriented, so unemotional."
Because he believes in spending quality time—and lots of it—with his children, Knepper says he'll probably give up baseball before he has to. "I don't want to play until I'm 40," he says. "My children don't need me to make a million dollars a year. What they need is time with me. My kids don't know the value of money. Right now, they see me buy a wrench when I need it, tune the car every 3,000 miles. The average person can't afford to do that, but they won't know that until later, when they're frustrated because they can't keep up with their father."
On the ranch, Knepper can often be found riding one of his seven quarter horses or tending his herd of 120 cattle. Four years ago, his friend and teammate, Nolan Ryan, who is a Texas cattleman, sold Knepper 10 cows to help him further the Beefmaster breed in Oregon. Since becoming a rancher, Knepper has played the cowboy role to the hilt. He owns 30 handguns, rifles and shotguns, 15 sets of spurs, a handmade saddle, five antique Spanish-style bits, 12 pairs of cowboy boots, eight Stetsons and a collection of John Wayne memorabilia. " John Wayne was the last great American," he says.
Knepper often fantasizes about living in the days of the Old West. Someday he plans to camp out for a week or two on his ranch, subsisting on fish and rabbit, sleeping beside a crackling fire underneath the stars. "I want to get on my horse," he says, "and ride into tomorrow and see yesterday."