How the West Was Wa

Hollywood's baseball binge continues, this time with an international twist: Tom Selleck is all but signed to star in "Tokyo Diamond" as an aging slugging star in a slump who is sold to the Japanese leagues. Peter Markle ("Bat 21") is likely to direct the drama for Universal.

The studio says it's premature to comment on the project, but we're told the producers are shooting for a December start date.

Selleck's agent, Bettye McCartt, tells us that Selleck will play a "man with giant problems," including his lack of team spirit ( wa in Japanese). After an initial "clash of cultures," including his alienation from Japan's team approach, "everybody learns from everybody else." Selleck's character will be involved romantically with a Japanese newswoman and develop a deep friendship with a team member who guides his comeback.

"There are probably five scripts in town on this subject--an American ballplayer going to play in Japan--that have been submitted to Tom," says McCartt. "This one (by Monte Merrick) is by far the best.

"It's obviously a subject whose time has come."

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