Everybody talks about killing the ump, but now somebody's finally doing something about it. The first victim, shot from a Jerome Avenue el, is calling a women's softball game; the second, killed in a New Hampshire parking lot, is a nearsighted, lazy tennis umpire who's just miscalled his last line shot; the third is the man who handed the World Series to the Yankees when he turned a fan-interference call into an unearned home run. Tennis pro Ginny Glade has no reason to cheer either Blinky Hammond, whose bad call stole the Volvo Classic from her, or Blackie Lister, who turned her shiftless outfielder ex-husband from a bum into a citywide hero. But NYPD Inspector Mickey Donovan can't accept the Post Standard's description of Ginny as ""a brooding, dusky killer,"" especially when his sneaky nonstop surveillance of her--he tricks her into babysitting his daughter Dillon, a chronic teen runaway--is backfiring into love. Battling a scheming mayor who wants to send him packing, a press that's got Ginny booked for Death Row, and a daughter who'd be even more lovable if she didn't keep embarrassing her old man by scoring heroin, Donovan connects the murders to a string of other New York homicides and a grudge match that goes back 20 years. Flavorsome (if weedy) backgrounds and a hard-charging prose oddly reminiscent of Jerome Charyn's Isaac Sidel novels mark this first novel from New York Daily News reporter McAlary (Good Cop, Bad Cop, 1994). Play ball.