WHEN THE PROFESSIONAL baseball players and the major league club owners settled their differences the other day, the threat of a baseball strike was ended. That's good, we suppose. Neither participants nor spectators have much fun during a strike.
But we had rather been looking forward to sharing with the cities of the American and National leagues a situation that is uniquely Washington's: summer without baseball. We had thought that if this came to pass -- everywhere -- in the summer of 1980, there might be nourished across the country a better understanding of the wails and prayers and threats that have arisen from Washington in recent years as a result of the removal of the national pastime from the national capital.
But since that is not to be, we might as well admit that a summer without baseball is not the unalloyed disaster that some people on the major league circuit seem to think it is. Having major league ball played in your town is better than not having it, but its prolonged absence does not make the heart grow fonder for the game. Other things rise up to replace those trips to the ballpark: tennis and golf, leisurely boat rides on the river, trips to the zoo, good books, even, for some -- whose right to their favorite recreation we do not in the slightest question -- positioning themselves under National Airport's filght path in order to hear the thunder and breathe the exhaust deep.
So as yet another summer season begins without baseball for the good people of Washington, the memories of afternoons and evenings spent watching a group of men throw, catch and try to hit a little round pellet grow dim. Batting averages, golden gloves and standings don't count for much in this town because this town doesn't count for much with the people who control the major leagues. Maybe that's why our sympathy was with the players in this spring's labor dispute. The owners have been on strike against Washington for almost a decade.
While the fans in other cities were waiting eagerly for the word to be flashed from New York so they could know what their summer was going to be like, we were the picture of unconcern. After all, we do have the Alexandria Dukes. And it's less than six weeks until Redskins practice begins.