Talkbackers don't often need smelling salts to get through the day, but D.C. Council Chairman Linda W. Cropp's body-check last week of D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams's $400 million-plus stadium proposal with a ditty of her own left many dazed and confused. However, reason seems to have prevailed and the mayor's proposal appears back on track.

After 33 years, we've come too close to achieving our dreams of a baseball team in town to let a few politicians ruin the hopes of D.C. baseball fans.

Mike Connor, Washington

If you know Washington politics and Major League Baseball, you had to expect some bumps in the road. Evidently, the mayor and his allies are following the advice of onetime "Saturday Night Live" ballplayer Chico Escuela, who advised, "Keep your eye on the ball."

I live in North Arlington and am 35 years old. I have been here in the D.C. area approximately 21/2 years but originally grew up in North Olmsted, Ohio, a west-side suburb 20 minutes from downtown Cleveland. Unfortunately, I moved away about one month prior to the opening of Jacobs Field in 1994, but have watched the economic revitalization of the city and still attend a few games there. Many of my best memories and family experiences revolve around baseball and attending games. I really enjoy living in the Washington area; all we've been missing is a baseball team.

Dave Lamb, Arlington

It's difficult trying to explain to non-fans, including city officials, think-tankers and doubting journalists, the importance a major league team to a city. You did it well.

I have been an interested follower of Major League Baseball since my teenage years, and I am old enough to remember the Chicago Cubs' last World Series in 1945. Since it appears Washington is about to regain a big-league team, I am raising two questions:

* Why does Congress continue to allow MLB to enjoy the advantages of antitrust exemption?

* Why does the media and general public apparently assume that Orioles owner Peter Angelos is entitled to indemnification and/or compensation from MLB to permit a team in Washington? Whomever buys the Washington franchise will have to pay five to six times more than what they should pay.

Tay Musick, Annandale

MLB has had an antitrust exemption since 1922 and, with its skilled staff of lobbyists insuring congressional support, retains that exemption. Regarding the Orioles, Commissioner Bud Selig wants to assure Angelos that his team will not be negatively impacted by the relocation of the Expos to Washington.

If I were commissioner, I wouldn't be so generous to the Orioles.