All this sudden dugout chatter about bringing baseball back to Washington is fine, but nostalgia and civic spirit aren't enough to pull it off. We, too, are eager for a major-league team in this town, but let's get right to the pitch. The name of the game is money. Unless the good people and businesses of Greater Washington demonstrate "visible support" by guaranteeing the purchase of at least 10,000 season tickets, the game could be over for this natural home of the Great American Pastime.

No more "pledges" or half-baked commitments, either. The call this week is for cash on the line. An all-star, bipartisan cast covering every corner of the community from the White House to the farthest reaches of Maryland and Virginia is working the region to help bring major-league baseball bak in '87, and their challenge is direct: "If you want it, prove it." In cooperation with banks in the District, Maryland and Virginia, the supporters even have a risk-free ticket-purchase arrangement for you:

Open an interest-bearing account in your name (separate from any household or operating account) for as little as $70, which is the estimated cost for tickets to 10 games. The bank will remit your order form to the D.C. Commission on Baseball at RFK Stadium. You may withdraw all or any part of your funds at any time. For further details, call 547-2077.

As it is on the field, speed is essential for the response. The baseball owners meet in August, and expansion is expected to be on their agenda. Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth will be counting ticket holders. On the subject of season-ticket support in Washington, he said last March, "I haven't seen anything yet. . . . There are people (in other cities) doing things. It's up to you."

So who's ready to go to bat for Washington?