Soon the cry of "Play Ball" once again will be heard throughout this great land of ours. Baseball's spring training has arrived.

Eager fingers will turn the pages of the newspapers, looking for news. "Who is that rookie that has the 'can't-miss' label this year? What veteran is considering retiring? Who is holding out? Yankees again? Or can Carew and the Angels chop them down? Can Rose win the pennant for the Phillies? Will it be the Oakland A's, the New Orleans A's or the Denver A's?"

These and other issues will be heatedly discussed, argued and even fought over among the best of friends. In homes, ballparks and bars, baseball will be the talk of the town.

But not in the nation's capital, where the lords of baseball are keeping it from returning. Their reason is a "lack of support."

From 1901 to 1971, we supported a team that finished in the second division 60 percent of the time. In 70 years, they won only three pennants and only one World Series. In 1969, they landed in fourth place, under Ted Williams, and drew almost a million fans. So don't tell me about the lack of fan support. Let me tell you of the owners' lack of support for the fans. They let us down, not us them.