THEY'RE JUST LIKE US: The commissioner of Japanese baseball criticized players for their weekend strike, accused the media of distortion and assailed one team for leaking news of merger talks. But Yasuchika Negoro appeared unwilling to shoulder any blame for the breakdown of negotiations that led to the first strike in the sport's 70-year history in Japan. "This strike will cause considerable damage for some teams. How is that good for the players?" Negoro told the Yomiuri newspaper. "Nothing good can come of a strike." The dispute centers on the merger of the Pacific League's Kintetsu Buffaloes and Orix BlueWave, which the players say would eliminate as many as 100 jobs.
OF THE DAY
Johan Santana seems increasingly likely to become the third Minnesota Twin to win the AL Cy Young Award. Who were the first two?
"There and Philly. They shouldn't even have teams. They shouldn't. Their fans are terrible. In Philly, they throw golf balls, bats, everything. Oakland, the same thing."
_ CARL EVERETT, White Sox outfielder on last week's fan-player scuffle at Network Associates Coliseum, where last season he was beaned by a cell phone thrown from the upper deck.
Frank Viola in 1988 and Jim Perry in 1970.