Umpires holding out for more

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The Independent Online

Major League spring training began on Thursday with the real players playing for the first time since going on strike eight months ago, but with umpires picketing outside some of the stadiums.

Ten exhibition games were scheduled in Florida and four in Arizona. The major league umpires, who are being locked out as they try to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the owners, picketed outside West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium in Florida where the Montreal Expos defeated the Atlanta Braves 6-1.

The umpires were also picketing in Phoenix, where the Chicago Cubs beat the Oakland Athletics 9-4 in an afternoon game, and in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where the New York Yankees hosted the New York Mets under the lights.

The players agreed to end their 232-day-old strike last week and the regular season will begin on Tuesday with a game between the Florida Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers in Miami.