Hey, get those carcasses out of here, okay? Where? I don't know where. Take them out to Capital Centre where they belong. How much they getting now to park a carcass, $6.50? You won't be needing those playoff tickets anymore. Next home game: Georgetown vs. St. Leo's.

Let's move on.

How 'bout our Astros?

Ten out of our last 12, two straight shutouts. Knepper's 4-0, first guy in the league to win four. Smith's got six saves already, best in the league. How 'bout Kerfeld? Fifteen innings pitched and not one earned run yet. Whooo-ee!

a) Bob. b) Dave. c) Charlie. (Charlie, by the way, lost 40 pounds over the winter; he's down to 235. But you probably knew that, didn't you?)

Yeah, our Astros.

It won't be long now.

Houston's going belly-up, boom to bust quicker than you can spell "cartel." How's the oil bidness, podnah? Pretty soon folks in Texas won't even be able to afford the payoffs to their college athletes. It's a race to see what's sinking fastest -- attendance at the Astrodome, or the price of gas.

What's it gonna cost McMullen to get out of his lease, $20 million? Please, $20 million isn't what it used to be. The cops on "Miami Vice" couldn't live on it; by the time they selected a spring wardrobe there wouldn't be enough left for a mobile phone. These days players get $10 million. McMullen's an owner. No big deal. He can sub-let. Anyway, what's $20 million to a guy with a Doctor of Mechanical Engineering degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich? (Good old Swiss Tech; it was my safe school after Harvard, Yale and the Famous Bartenders Academy.) Baseball in '87. Yo, Doc, who loves ya, baby?

I'd like to take this moment to be sincere here. And what I'm going to say, well, I just hope it doesn't sound like I'm trying to butter up a personal hero of mine, Dr. John J. McMullen. But in all honesty, I love our Houston Astros. I worship the artificial ground they walk on. I have adored them since their very first season, 1962, when they were the Houston Colt .45s. (A brilliant nickname, identifying the touchstones of Texas cultural life: beer and guns.)

Washington, D.C., isn't a fly-by-night, nouveau riche boomtown. Washington's a consistent, rather conservative city that deserves a consistent, conservative franchise. Consistent? Nothing but. Number of league pennants in 24 seasons: zero. And conservative? Bases loaded and a single gets you one all night long. Our Astros haven't had anyone hit more than 20 home runs since 1974; the last time someone drove in more than 100 runs was 1976. (Where you been, Jimmy "Toy Cannon" Wynn?) It is a franchise of profound dullness. A Washingtonian might even be reminded of the Senators, now Texans themselves.

Hal Lanier. (Astros for $20; you're welcome.)

So how are we going to work this? The name Astros has to go. The Washington Astros is as ludicrous as the Utah Jazz. But I think the uniform ought to stay, even though yesterday Houston announced it was scrapping the rainbow-style next season. I always admired those shirts. They look like a cross between something that was spilled and second place at a kindergarten art festival. There should be a sign on the team bus that says: Driver Will Stop and Sell You a Pizza. Now about where they'll play. Presumably it would be RFK, but let me point out some statistics: Entering this season our Astros were 925-744 in the Astrodome, and 785-1,129 on the road. Obviously, this is a team that plays better indoors than out, so we might want to consider having them play at the Convention Center, or inside the lobby of the Shoreham.

Jose Cruz. (For $30.)

Glenn "Mr. Outside" Davis, 1B; Bill "Doran" Doran, 2B. (For $40.)

The only problem I foresee in bringing our Astros home where they belong is that Nolan Ryan might not want to relocate; he might not want to sell his ranch in Alvin to buy the 20x40 lot in Georgetown for $3 million. I know Ryan is old, 39, (he's got company on this team with Cruz, 38, and Phil Garner, who they say is 36, but who has to be nearing 90 by now) but he is still the most compelling player our Astros have, notwithstanding the Murderers Row of Terry Puhl, Mark Bailey, Denny Walling and Kevin Bass.

We're in luck this week. Our Astros are in Philadelphia. We can drive up to see them and show them how strong our love is. Wear buttons: "Astromania." "I'm an Astro-nut." Wave banners: "Power Is Overrated. Go You Beltway Bunters." Better yet, you know that good-faith money you deposited for season tickets to the "expansion" team we've been on our hands and knees begging for? Withdraw it from the bank, and send it directly to McMullen. Let's give him a push.