The Talkbackers don't know what to make of Virginia Baseball's declaration Monday of not seeking support from the District or the Maryland suburbs if Major League Baseball awards the Expos to Virginia. Some members of The Baseball Gang who live in the District and the Maryland suburbs wonder if they will be allowed to attend games in Virginia. Will they have to show their driver's license to buy tickets? Will fans be required to sign anti-O's/Terps/Wiz/Caps pledges and swear they loved "Cold Mountain" ?

In making a case for the return of baseball to the nation's capital, I've wondered why we don't hear more about one of Washington's demographic strengths: a substantial, influential, savvy and financially solid black population.

In this region, the cost of not having a major league baseball team since 1971 has been at least two generations of black fans. Young black kids have grown up without having major league ballplayers for heroes. Youth leagues and high school baseball have suffered from this void. If there was a team in town, you'd see more talented black kids on the ballfields.

M.E. Travaglini, Annapolis

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig recognizes the game has lost fan support among blacks as well as a decline in participation among children and young adults. I believe basketball and football generate much greater interest among these kids, resulting in fewer professional baseball prospects. MLB has instituted a number of programs in hopes of improving that situation, including financial support of several youth leagues in the District.

I was hoping for a report on how your (June 10) meeting of the Baseball Gang went at Shirley Povich Field. I believe it rained that evening. Will there be another meeting, after MLB announces where it will relocate the Expos?

Jim Cammisa, Alexandria

Well, the rain did have an impact on the number of Baseball Gang members who attended, and the two beefy security guards I hired from the FedEx Field big-shot section for the night were not really necessary. But those who attended enjoyed seeing the Big Train team play the Baltimore Pride in a lovely setting.

We will meet after the Expos situation is settled and welcome and seek Baseball Gang members from Virginia, as well as the District and Maryland.