Troubled by a sputtering offense (.188 team batting average this week, 12 runs scored), six losses in seven games and vanishing attendance (4,171 paid Friday night to see Chicago), the Washington Senators are experimenting with a radical reorienting of their philosophy in a bid to attract more fans and a new breed of them.

Strength coach Dwight Usher, author of the controversial book Steroids: If They're So Bad, How Come I'm Not Dead?, has instituted a new conditioning program that he says "makes 'The Dirty Dozen' look like 'Pee-wee's Playhouse.' " Usher promised the fans that the Senators would soon "be the toughest, most penalized team in the league," and challenged the New York Yankees to a fight to the death inside a steel cage.

The Rise of the House of Usher extends well beyond the strength coach himself. Usher's wife, Cattle Annie, has organized the Senators' wives and girlfriends into a roller derby team; Muffin Motherwell designed the well-intentioned but sportingly flawed logo -- an Amazon with jodhpurs and a riding crop superimposed on a Bloomingdale's charge card. It all corresponds to a study on marketing strategies prepared by Dr. David M. Littwin, a crowd psychologist and advertising jingle lyricist. In it, Littwin claims that "the Senators have fallen victim to the 'Inside the Beltway Brooks Brothers and Wing-Tip Mentality,' which resents everything new and innovative, and demands that you pander to the status quo."

Littwin's 20-page study asserts the Senators are suffering at the gate because they've misidentified the real Washington sports fans and aimed instead at the thin upper crust of sports frauds -- pundits who exaggerate their sports credentials, never actually buy tickets to games and wonder why they can't get a good wine at RFK when they're dumped from the owner's A-list and forced to sit in the stands with people who aren't quoted in the Congressional Record. Littwin writes:

". . . The mythology that baseball is a cerebral, pastoral game appeals to an older, pseudo-intellectual fan. In men, we see dilettantes who affect pipe-smoking, fulminate gravely about the Law of the Sea Treaty, and wear ill-fitting corduroy jackets and those imbecilic tweed driving caps onto the Metro. In women, we see severe, horse-faced fraus whose lives revolve around making sure their casual footwear is both sensible and stylish.

"What you should be seeking is a younger, less sedate fan, the kind who'll drive all night to a tractor pull. We appreciate that Washington is a sophisticated area; we probably couldn't find a pool of 650,000 toothless people with motor homes to draw from. So we recommend that you tap into an already flourishing market -- the rabid fans of hockey, stock car racing and pro wrestling.

"They are demographically sound -- young, mainly between 16 and 44 -- with IQs rarely above 95, so they're susceptible to your major advertisers. And although they represent different cultural strata -- working class for stock car and wrestling, yuppie for hockey -- they share the salutary characteristic of spending an inordinate proportion of their disposable income on beer and bad food, which is all you sell at the ballpark. We recommend you steer the racing and wrestling crowd to Bud, caramel popcorn and jumbo dogs, and steer the yuppies to Corona with lime, Dove bars and gentrified pizza with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. A 30,000 gate will translate into $450,000 at the concession stands.

"The critical element, though, is giving these fans what they want. And what they want, continually, is carnage. So we advise reconstructing the Senators into an aggressive, nasty bunch -- men with sneers and stubble whose basic attitude is: So much as breathe on me and I'll hit you so hard it'll kill your whole family.

"I think there's no question that Danny Broccoli projects this kind of borderline sociopathic image, and he should be the centerpiece of these new Senators. Here's a jingle I've worked up, to the tune of 'God Bless America': 'Here come the Senators/ Proud, fierce and mean/ We will beat you/ We'll mistreat you/ Break your legs and then rupture your spleen.'

"That kind of appeal to patriotism and violence is what we recommend you aim for . . ."

According to informed sources, The Littwin Report was the subject of heated debate among management. GM Elliott Suskind and manager Major Banks argued against implementing the recommendations on the grounds that building a contender takes patience, and the Senators are a new team that needs pitching, not a personality makeover. "We're baseball players, not berserkers," Banks said, referring to the select Viking warriors who whipped themselves into a blind rage and attacked without regard for personal safety. (When Banks mentioned the berserkers, Suskind said he wished he'd been alive then so he "could have bet the over.")

But Tang Ye-lin overruled them, insisting that group harmony was less important than economic imperatives. "I've got bills to pay," Tang said. "That zen mumbo jumbo may work for you, Banks, but I can't meet my payroll sitting cross-legged on the floor like a squaw." Tang then appointed Usher to transform the Senators into something Rambo would be proud of.

On Thursday, Usher called a team meeting at which he announced his plan: All players would live and eat together in a barracks at Parris Island, S.C., and commute to the games via a troop transport. Training table meals would consist of raw, freshly killed wild animals and whatever nuts, fruit and berries the players could forage for. Practice sessions would begin with a 10-mile run carrying full pack, and end when the trainers ran out of bandages.

Anticipating that the Holy Trinity infielders might feel uncomfortable at having to occasionally beat each other senseless in pre-game drills, Usher urged them to think of this as a Holy Crusade, a way to serve Him through muscular Christianity. There was some resistance from the more sensitive and compassionate players, those few who didn't think Clint Eastwood should be secretary of state: The health-conscious Jonathan Van Dorn objected to players' being given extra rations of chewing tobacco as a reward for extra-base hits, and Dean Hines worried that the nightly bloodletting ceremony might be "interesting as theater, but messy, messy, messy, don't you think, hon?" But Usher steamrollered those "wimpy whiners," suggesting that "the real men on the team would know how to deal with the {furry ones}." "Gentlemen," Usher said in conclusion, "I want you to think of this as war, and me as your commanding officer. We're going to go through the American League like Sherman through butter."

Danny Broccoli was so moved by the presentation and speech that he stood up and saluted.

"I've seen this movie before," said a skeptical Oscar Madison. "Everybody dies." :: SENATORS STUFF: Gene McSparron's campaign to buy way onto All-Star team hit snag when he was late making payments on billboard rentals in seven AL ballparks. McSparron's picture and slogan -- "Vote for Gene, He's a Hitting Machine (And He Supports the President)" -- were ripped down, and he tumbled in voting from sixth to 29th . . . AL manager John McNamara, asked what chances were he'd name a Senators reliever to All-Star squad, replied, "Kurt Waldheim has a better chance at becoming mayor of New York City" . . . John Doe's recent behavior has Senators worried. Doe saw Brian Bosworth on TV, then dyed his hair blond, pierced his ears and insisted he wouldn't play for Seattle. GM Elliott Suskind anxious: "What'll happen if he rents 'Tootsie'?" . . . Doctor Gibson in horrendous slump (2 for 26) since going on 36-hour shifts as medical student. "I'm exhausted," Gibson admitted. "And I'm becoming schizophrenic. The other night at the hospital I gave a patient aspirin and told him, 'Take two and hit to right.' " . . . MacArthur Foundation announced belated Genius Award to Otis Bettelsen -- $290,000 for "elucidating the startling interrelationships of sport, semantics and stir-frying." Bettelsen said he didn't know what he'd do with all the money, but part surely would "go for a fondue pot." ::