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Umpires express displeasure with MLB's background checks

10/9/2007 - MLB

NEW YORK -- Umpires called out Major League Baseball for
talking with their neighbors.

In the wake of the NBA's gambling scandal involving referee Tim
Donaghy, the commissioner's office has stepped up monitoring of its
umps.

"While we cannot stop Major League Baseball from questioning
the umpires' neighbors and friends, we can tell them that they are
under no legal or other obligation to speak with the
investigators," World Umpires Association spokesman Lamell
McMorris said Tuesday.

"In our view, it is a total invasion of privacy, and we
strongly recommend that the neighbors and friends not answer any of
these questions," he said.

MLB spokesman Rich Levin defended baseball's actions.

"We are conducting background checks that are consistent with
the law, and these types of inquiries are part of the normal
regimen," he said.

Baseball asked for umps to agree to credit checks, but the umps
balked, wanting MLB to expand the size of postseason umpiring
crews.

McMorris said baseball's security personnel have been out of
line.

"We've received reports that some of these individuals have not
properly identified themselves, have not thoroughly explained what
they are doing, and have asked some very intrusive questions," he
said.