As a native Washingtonian, I am a little cynical about the statement of John McHale Jr., Major League Baseball's executive vice president of administration, that "if we weren't serious about Washington, D.C., we wouldn't be here" [Metro, May 7].

Since Senators owner Bob Short left after the 1971 season, baseball and Washington have been doing a slow dance to an orchestra led by Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and his predecessors. All demographic data suggest that the fourth-largest market in the country can support two teams, particularly when similar-size markets have been successful in doing so.

Nor does Washington deserve its reputation among some as being a poor sports town. In 1969, the only year in my lifetime in which the Senators had a winning record, they drew more than 900,000 fans. Given the fact that the D.C.-Baltimore market now numbers more than 7 million, there is no reason to think that a baseball team couldn't draw 1.5 million to 2 million fans, provided that its stadium is centrally located.

If baseball is truly "serious" about the District, the only way to prove it is through action.


Silver Spring