Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth said yesterday he was "impressed with the numbers" recorded by the D.C. Baseball Commission in its drive to sell season tickets.
To date, the commission has sold 7,117 season tickets, worth $4,035,339. That money is deposited in escrow accounts at banks around the area.
Originally, the commission set a July 31 deadline, but withdrew that date when Ueberroth canceled next month's baseball meetings in Anaheim because of labor problems. The players union has set an Aug. 6 strike deadline.
"I think people misread the meaning of the summer and winter meetings," Ueberroth said.
"The subject of expansion is important enough to merit discussion on its own merits, rather be part of a mixed agenda," he said. "Baseball owes it to the fans of these cities to take a serious look at expansion."
Ueberroth, who upset some Washingtonians when he listed his criteria (season tickets, political support and strong multiple ownership) for obtaining a team last March, has appeared more favorable toward Washington in recent weeks. In a July 14 interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," he named Washington and Denver at the top of a list of cities seeking an expansion team.
Other areas mentioned were Vancouver, Indianapolis, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Phoenix and New Jersey.
Of the four potential ownership groups vying for a team in Washington, Ueberroth said: "I'm always in favor of competition. I believe in a free market; competition is the basis of our country."
Reacting to former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn's apparent interest in becoming involved in ownership here, Ueberroth said: "I'd react positively to his being part owner of a major league team. He did a tremendous amount for baseball. I'd welcome him."