The compact cars of Saugus, Mass., can sleep tight tonight.On Tuesday night, angry baseball fans in that town tipped over four little autos and told police they would attack nine more vehicular quadrupeds each night (one for each inning) until the strike was settled.

First, police found a Datsun on its side at 1:30 a.m. Then, a telephone terrorist, described by a desk officer as "young and sober," warned that Melrose Auto Body would be next. Sure enough, another overturned Datsun. Before the reign of vandalism subsided at 2:30 a.m., a Volkswagen Beetle and a Chevette had been tipped on their sides, too.

"We'll be watching for them," officer Ronald Witten said.

Now, that won't be necessary.

Too bad. What a shame this baseball strike didn't even last 24 hours.

The Saugus Saboteurs had it all wrong. This was a strike that everybody should have been able to get behind.

Okay, okay, so the eight peanut packers at the Peterson Nut Company in Cleveland who got laid off on Tuesday because of the strike, then got rehired yesterday, probably are pretty happy about the whole thing. It's not peanuts to them. But, for the rest of us, what a bummer.

Yesterday morning, I woke up humming. As soon as I made sure the players and owners hadn't settled at 5 a.m., I got a smile on my face that wouldn't go away till noon. Strike, it's wonderful!

Then, around lunch time, Peter Ueberroth spoiled my whole day.

Where's Bowie Kuhn when you need him? We finally get a strike with some real potential and this new kid breaks up the whole fight.

That's when I realized that all isn't lost.

There's still time to go back on strike.

After all, no games are scheduled until tonight.

Come on, guys. Think about it. Please?

Hang tough, you union lads. Where's your grit?

Millions of us lifelong baseball fans give you our full support. You have no idea how much we want you to go back on strike.

We're really sorry to hear that you'd be losing about $2,000 a day.

Hey, our hearts broke when we heard that you're probably going to have to give back some of your leverage in arbitration. Gee, that'll probably cost you millions over the long haul. Where are your principles, boys? Aren't you going to fight to the death for the right of the next Wade Boggs to be awarded $1 million a year for hitting five home runs?

It's been a shame to see the cracks in your union this week with players like union rep Scott McGregor saying he didn't support your strike in the slightest. Gosh, some people might think you guys couldn't have lasted a week without your membership whining for a recount on that strike authorization vote.

Get back on that picket line and show 'em your union won't back down.

Look on the bright side. If you stay out the whole season, you can lose $125,000 a man in pay. You may drive a couple of teams out of existence; that means 50 of you can go back to the minor leagues. And you can alienate so many fans that in the next few years your salaries can shrink as fast as they've been rising lately.

How dare you believe those sneaky owners, just because they opened their books and begged you to go partners with them in solving the game's problems. Stay lined up right behind Don Fehr. Sarcasm and cynicism, that's the ticket.

It's not just the players who are losing a great opportunity with this precipitous settlement. What's wrong with you owners, huh? You gotta stick together, dahlings.

Remember now, you have our moral support. Of course, that might not be as much consolation as the $50 million in strike insurance that you hornswaggled out of Lloyds of London last time. This time you can prove that it was just a coincidence that, in '81, you settled the strike five days after your insurance ran out.

This time, every dollar would come out of your own pockets -- money you'd never get back. Hey, what do you guys care? You were only going to break every attendance record this season.

We know this little strike and all the trauma you put us through for the last eight months was basically your fault, but we don't blame you.

Sure, if you hadn't been so busy firing Bowie Kuhn for two years you might have been able to set your own financial house in order by now. You wouldn't have had to beg and bluff the union to bail you out now if you'd followed the Restructuring Committee's recommendations on revenue sharing in 1982.

But don't worry. These strikes and threats of strike aren't really damaging your product for years to come. Next time the TV networks start bidding, they're sure to come up with another $1.1 billion for six years. Networks love to build their programming around sports that go on strike every four years.

If insomnia starts bothering you, look at it this way. All you have to do is call the union this morning and say, "Remember we said we were withdrawing our salary cap proposal? Well, we slept on it and we've changed our minds. This could be as important as partial compensation. We're gonna fight for it."

This strike just had too much going for it to end so quickly.

Why, look at the timing. You think these players and owners aren't smart cookies? In 1981, baseball took its vacation in June and July when nothing else was happening. We were so bored that we cared what happened.

This year, there was no strike until our baseball appetites were nearly sated. We'd already had 100 games. What was left to miss? The Blue Jays winning the World Series in a Toronto blizzard on Nov. 1? With the real national pastime (football) about to kick off in a few days, baseball picked a perfect time to strike.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of all, if this strike is not resumed, will be to Washingtonians. If the rest of this season had gotten killed, we'd have been sure to get a team. Owners would really have been in the red then. And what's the quick way to get $50 million overnight?


Charge each new franchise a $25 million entrance fee for the privilege of joining the big league frat house. Then split the cash. Jack Kent Cooke and maybe Marvin Davis could have been stuck with the whole strike tab.

Come on, guys. If this chance is wasted, it won't come again until 1990.

What a shame. This strike could have made us forget the Haymarket Riot.

And you guys, on both sides, deserved it so much.