Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth's office yesterday released written criteria for cities seeking expansion franchises and announced that the Long Range Planning Committee will meet with interested groups Nov. 7-8 in New York.
However, most of the outlined criteria -- "by no means an absolute listing of requirements," according to the commissioner's office -- had been discussed by Ueberroth as far back as March.
The D.C. Baseball Commission received the written criteria (shown on Page D6), as did committees in Buffalo, Columbus, Denver, Indianapolis, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, Phoenix, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Vancouver.
There has been no definite commitment to expansion, but indications are that it could come as early as 1987. Under the basic agreement with the players union, the National League, which has two less teams than the American, can expand by two teams without negotiation.
The commissioner's statement noted that no timetable has been set and no commitments made regarding possible locations. "It is clear, however, that baseball intends to address this subject in a deliberate, businesslike fashion with a full opportunity for all concerned to address the Long Range Planning Committee," the statement read.
Frank Smith, city councilman and chairman of the D.C. Baseball Commission, sees Washington, "and perhaps Denver," as the front-runners in the expansion race. He said he is "pleased to see that the meeting is finally going to be held. Since the summer meetings were canceled (due to the baseball strike), we were led to believe that we'd be given a chance to present our case.
"We're in a better position to report on most of these (criteria) than most of the cities," he said.
Among the eight major points are ownership (significant community identification), management (baseball experience), stadium (if lease, baseball-use priority), state and local government (long-term commitment and minimization or elimination of tax disincentives) and location (favorable demographics).
Three separate individuals or groups are seeking a team for Washington. They are Jack Kent Cooke, owner of the Washington Redskins; a group that includes former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn and real estate men Oliver Carr, James Clark and Robert Smith; and developer Theodore N. Lerner and businessman Robert I. Schattner.
The criteria also call for a committment of 10,000 full season tickets. So far, the D.C. Commission has sold 10,444 worth $5,640,948.