PLAYERS SAFE WITH UMPIRES, SO FAR

The throw was rushed and sailed high, forcing White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas to jump.

Thomas caught the ball and thought he came down on the corner of the bag. Instead, the umpire--it just happened to be John Hirschbeck--shouted "Safe!"

In previous years, Thomas might have disputed the decision. But not this year. At least, not now.

Umpires, still upset that Roberto Alomar did not get a more severe penalty last season after spitting in Hirschbeck's face, announced a get tough policy in spring training. The umps backed it up with several exhibition ejections, a rarity in the past.

And if the first few days of the regular season are any indication, players and managers have gotten the message. Going into the weekend, there had not been any extra mouthing off, and not a single ejection.