Surgeons very likely are operating where Goose Goslin once did. Patients surely are hobbling toward recovery, or the cashier's cage, on roughly the double play route of Cecil Travis to Buddy Myer to Joe Kuhel.

Wheatieville now might be populated by infants tuckered from their recent journey into the universe. An ancient Chevy in a half-empty parking lot seems to mark the spot of The Tree.

Ah, The Tree.

It was an enormous oak, and to a youngster growing up in Washington nearly a half-century ago, as Danny Bass did, it was a landmark more treasured than any monument.

"You went to a game," he was saying the other day, "you'd say to your buddies: 'I'll meet you by The Tree.' " And then you'd ask some adult stranger, pretty please, if you could tag along inside -- free -- on his paid ticket.

"Only once did I fail to get in like that -- and I must have seen 25 to 30 games a season," Bass recalled. "I'd gotten there late -- and was moping around the turnstile when this executive came up and handed me a pass.

"It was Clark Griffith."

Of Griffith Stadium.

And those unique moments only baseball offers such as Bass, a kid of 56 just now.

"You're puttin' some tingles in me," he admitted while standing on Georgia Avenue, less than a hundred yards from the once magical intersection of Seventh Street and Florida Avenue NW.

Bass' arm had been twisted, though not too hard, to reexperience some boyhood pleasures. His eyes were scanning the brick frame of Howard University Hospital; his mind was seeing Griffith Stadium.

"Like echoes comin' up through the ground," he said at one point.

One of those echoes had to be the crowd's roar that told 9-year-old Danny Bass something special was soaring his way.

Sure enough, a baseball soon cleared the wall in right and rattled off a tin garage. Bass and other neighborhood youngsters usually were waiting in the alley between the stadium and garages for such good fortune.

Bass grabbed the ball, but had to wait till game's end to discover who had launched it his way: Goslin.

"I'm sure I lost it the next day," Bass said. "Knocked it down a sewer, probably."

Goslin was one of his heroes, though the Senator he admired most was the first baseman, Kuhel. But there always was someone quite a lot taller than Bass available on his teams, so he became an outfielder.

Lefty all the way.

The only experience better than watching big-league baseball for a youngster would be growing good enough actually to play in Griffith Stadium.

That happened for Bass when his Coolidge High School team played semifinal and final games there for the 1946 Interhigh championship. And won.

Clear as a few seconds ago, Bass could see his own line shot stinging the right field wall. Stand-up double.

"Would have been a triple," he insisted, "except the guy ahead of me waited too long watchin' the ball."

That and other good work fetched a contract from the Giants. Carl Hubbell himself was dispatched to sign dreamy Danny Bass.

For nearly four years, Bass bounced around the Class D leagues. The Korean War interrupted a modest career -- and when it ended, so did Bass' fantasy of being his generation's Goslin.

Of his beloved Nats, Bass recalls "some real pipperoos." Especially an outfielder named Mel Almada, who seemed to react to fly balls only after they'd already cleared his head. And another outfield Senator, Roberto Ortiz, who would seem to be fleeing from the baseball when he only was misjudging its direction.

"The second date with my wife was in the bleachers," Bass suddenly volunteered. "I was testin' her."

Thirty-two years later, Helene still was keeping score -- at the old-timers game in RFK Stadium last week. Their three children, with spouses and girlfriend, joined them.

The memory of Calvin Griffith hauling Senators I to Minnesota, just when they were getting good again, and Robert Short scampering off to Texas with Senators II made Bass doubt baseball ever would return to Washington.

He also was skeptical about this gimmick of pledging money, in an interest-bearing account, toward a season ticket to convince baseball there is good reason to expand its National League here by 1987.

Then he got thinking.

About Zeke Bonura and Albie Pearson. About the time he got to squeeze into that cubbyhole that broadcaster Arch McDonald had dubbed "Wheatieville." About meetings by The Tree -- and chasing after scruffy baseballs as though they were jewels.

Even memories of sitting in beer joints naming All-Lousiest Senators teams were not so unpleasant.

Helene soon was dispatched to sign them up for a pledge each.

"When you've been raised on baseball, it's a tremendous void," he said. "I'm starting to get a feeling that maybe something good will happen.

"I want baseball back. Bad. I've missed it for too long."