It appears we will come out of the so-called Japanese baseball crisis with the two-league system intact, six teams each in the Central and Pacific circuits, a new team in Sendai and interleague play in 2005.

Not bad, when you consider that, in July, it looked as if we were headed for a one-league, 10-team set-up, as a group of stubborn owners attempted to ram that idea down everybody's throats.

However, it was the Japan Pro Baseball Players Association that prevailed, boosted by a heavy dose of fan power.