The presidents of the American and National leagues and the Umpires Association last week settled on a new three-year contract. It brought the 52 striking umps back to work after 45 days, 474 games and countless questionable (or worse) calls by their substitutes.
The men in blue and red made some nice gains. They received raises averaging about $7,000 a year, increases in per diem expenses, and two-week vacations during the season. The cost to baseball over the length of the pact will be $2� million, or about a million more than it would have cost if the presidents had settled before the season. However, there is one unsettling clause. In case of a player strike next year, umpires will be paid for the first 30 days. If the strike lasts all season, they will be paid for 60 days. Thirty days? All season? Let's hope that that clause represents lawyers' caution and not well-based fears.
GREAT IDEAS OF WESTERN MAN
Dave Romero is a man with a dump truck and a dream. Inspired by the exploits of Evel Knievel, who made his mark jumping over trucks on his motorcycle, Romero wants to fly over motorcycles in his dump truck, 18 cycles, to be precise, a distance of about 60 feet.
In order to land safely, Romero has calculated that he will have to reach a minimum of 140 mph in his 10-ton Ken-worth dump truck, but he has yet to determine the length, height and angle of the takeoff and landing ramps. The stunt will cost upwards of $50,000, which doesn't include the motorcycles or insurance. That explains the advertisements that have been appearing recently in such papers as Western Truck Trader, setting forth the prospective stunt along with a phone number to call anytime, because Romero is looking for financial backing. A Southern California truck dealer has offered him $150,000, but Romero is holding out for more. The tentative jump date is sometime in August, and he says he'll do it wherever he can get the most money.
"I've been a trucker all my life," says Romero, age 32, who owns a small trucking business in Albuquerque. "If there's anything that can be done with a truck, well, I'm your man. I've never performed a stunt before, but I've been practicing in private and I'm 100% sure I'll make it."
"Think about it," Dave Romero's advertisement proclaims. "It's a great idea."
FILL 'EM UP
Johnny Rodgers, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Nebraska and now a wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers, owns a Rolls-Royce, a Jensen-Healey and a Mercedes, and has also been seen driving a van. Apparently frustrated and aggravated by the long lines for gasoline in Southern California, he found a solution. He bought the ARCO station at Alice Street and El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego.