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FANS HAVE STRONG WORDS FOR BOTH PLAYERS, OWNERS

SHARE FANS HAVE STRONG WORDS FOR BOTH PLAYERS, OWNERS

The fans at the last game had the last word.

When the Mariners-Athletics game ended and the baseball strike began, they booed.Seattle beat Oakland 8-1 Thursday night in game that ended with Randy Johnson striking out his 219th - and possibly last - batter this season.

Johnson left the mound and waved to the fans, a few of whom lingered at Oakland Coliseum for a half-hour after the game ended.

Fans in Oakland and at the other nine ballparks Thursday had strong words for the owners and players who have shut down the national pastime.

"I think it's ridiculous to make that much money and still want more. I read somewhere that Rickey Henderson makes $25,000 a game. How can that not be enough?" asked Keith Brooks, 24, of Newark, Calif.

"They're just shafting us, man," he added.

Periodically, the Oakland crowd of 26,808 chanted "No Strike!"

Ron Jones tried to draw attention to the fans' plight by passing out Band-Aids with the word OUCH on them.

"OUCH stands for `Only Unrepresented Consumers Hurt,"' said Jones, 39. "We want to let the players and the management know that they're hurting the fans and they're hurting the game."

"The players are basically saying to us, `We don't care about you,"' said Eric Glass, who sells scorebooks and yearbooks at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

In the third inning of the Texas Rangers' game Wednesday night, fans behind home plate unfurled a banner that read "R.I.P. Major League Baseball - Go Cowboys!" - evoking raucous cheers from other fans.

"Just sit back and wait for football," said Sandy Carter, 33, of Columbus. She was one of the 33,876 people who attended the Cincinnati Reds' 2-0 loss Thursday to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Charles Snyder, 85, of Cincinnati, a one-time Brooklyn Dodgers fan from New York, didn't hesitate when asked what he would do while there is no big-league baseball.

"I'm going to River Downs," he said, referring to the Cincinnati horse racing track.

At the Rockies' 13-0 loss to Atlanta, possibly the final baseball game at Mile High Stadium, Bill Dishman, who has been working sports events at the stadium since 1986, had already advanced his sports schedule.

"Hey, life goes on. We've still got the Broncos," he said.