For 33 years the residents of our nation's capital have been deprived of the national pastime. Now after decades of turning our heads north to Baltimore, we are supposedly closer than ever to having a team back in Washington [Sports, July 23]. But after all the deliberation, the bumper stickers and the pleas to Bud Selig, is it really worth it?

As I watched the All-Star Game the other night, what I saw was not the game of baseball as it is meant to be played but merely a few pitches and at-bats thrown in between commercials and promotions. The game, the players and the fans have all taken a back seat to corporations, and the integrity of the game is dangerously close to being lost.

We don't go five minutes without seeing the Pepsi, Taco Bell, Mastercard or Cingular Wireless logos plastered all over the screen. We can't watch a single inning without being reminded of the reality TV shows premiering on Fox this fall. And we certainly can't let the game start on time, or we would miss the five-minute preview of Will Smith in "I, Robot."

So when (and if) our beloved Senators come back to Washington, they won't be playing in the famed Griffith Stadium of old, but instead in insert-corporate-sponsor-here park. And the people enjoying the game the most will be not be the players and the fans but the lucky ones who cash a check from Pepsi, Cingular or whichever company is forking over $1 billion that day to have their name on TV.

Do I want baseball back in Washington? Absolutely. But it's the game I love, not the commercialism. I just wish Major League Baseball would get the message.

PAUL KRUMHOLZ

Reston