WHEN THE news blared through the radio Friday morning that the baseball strike was over, our first reaction was joy and a little excitment. Then, slowly, a sense of reality set in. It won't make much difference here. The strike of organized baseball against the city of Washington goes on.
This may be a parochial way to think about the sudden end of an event that has spoiled the last two months for thousands of sports fans in such places Anaheim, Calif., Arlington, Tex., and Toronto. But they do need to be reminded that in the capital of this nation, the absence of baseball from the summer scene is nothing new.
It has been 10 summers now since those who call Washington home could go to the staduim on a sunny afternoon or a muggy night and cheer their heroes on. Ten summers without a crack of a bat or a could of dust or a mighty cheer when Casey struck out. What do those baseball fans in more fortunate cities know? Two months without a game is nothing in a city where Walter Johnson and Mickey Vernon and Harmon Killebrew once displayed their wares.
There are, to be sure, fans in this city so loyal to the game that they are prepared to resume their long treks across the state of Maryland if the tenative agreement between the players and the owners becomes a signed contract. For them, the anguish of the last few weeks has been real. For the rest of us, that anguish has been shared vicariously, deprived as we have been of box scores to look at over breakfast and of an occasional two or three hours on television of what purports to be baseball but what is, in reality, a pale version of the game. Try as they might, and regardless of where their owner lives, the Orioles can never stir the emotions in this city the way the Cardinals do in St. Louis or the Red Sox in Boston or, even, the Mets in New York.
Should Washingtonians, nevertheless, hail the end of the strike? We suppose so, especially if the players succeeded in wiping out more of the vestiges of that old reserve clause. Even if they didn't, the resumption of play in what still claims to be the national pastime comes at an apporopriate moment. Congress is about to go home, for a while anyway, we can't watch the president throw any more strikes past the Democrats, who haven't had a hit for more than two months.
So, welcome back, baseball. Welcome back, American and National Leagues. But just remember, all you players and owners: the welcome here would be much warmer if the Senators were once again something other than just the occupants of the north wing of the Capitol.