Call this Round 3 -- or is it Round 300 -- in the great "Does Washington Deserve a Baseball Team?" debate.

On the July 8 Close to Home page, under the label "Round 2," D.C. Council member and baseball commission chairman Frank Smith whined about Rep. John LaFalce's (D-N.Y.) piece about Buffalo being better than Washington for baseball {Close to Home, July 1}.

Council member Smith's column was just another display of the sour-grapes attitude the D.C. baseball movement has acquired in its futile struggle to land the grand ole game in our nation's capital. Citing "living conditions" and "buying power" as reasons for Washington's being more suitable for baseball than Buffalo is absurd.

"Living conditions"?

Washington is the crime capital of the country, and the area surrounding RFK is no Disneyland.

"Buying power"?

Does this mean that should Washington be granted a team, we will have above-average ticket prices to look forward to?

Yes, the all-wonderful Metro stops within steps of RFK, but have you ever tried getting on it after a Redskins game? You need a shoehorn or a crowbar and a deep breath.

Council member Smith couldn't imagine Buffalo getting a team before Washington. But if he knew anything about Buffalo, he would know that the Buffalo Bisons, farm team of the Pittsburgh Pirates, outdrew the Mariners, the White Sox and the Braves last year. New stadium, Mr. Smith says? Maybe, but the Bisons drew more than a million fans in 1988.

Those die-hard supporters of baseball in Washington should face facts: three cities are now being considered for the two baseball slots. Buffalo, as reported, is running third behind Denver and Tampa Bay. Washington is out of the picture. The baseball lords, understandably, have ruled out a city the nation sees as crime-ridden and corrupt.

JOHN FALARDEAU Arlington