BASEBALL: YANKEE, YOU'RE OUT

AN AMERICAN UMPIRE LEARNS A LOT ABOUT JAPANESE BASEBALL--AND A CULTURE STILL CLOSED TO OUTSIDERS

Japanese besuboru is not exactly the same as American baseball. And that fact hit Mike Di Muro with all the force of a beanball. Di Muro, a 29-year-old pro umpire from New York, was invited this spring to step onto Japan's diamonds and teach the American meaning of a strike. But Di Muro soon learned that it's less hazardous to face Roberto Alomar's spit than the wrath of Japanese players and fans who don't like the call.

The low point came during a June 5 game in the central city of Gifu, when the burly Di Muro called two strikes on...

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