Over lunch yesterday, between the crab salad and calves liver, I believe Peter ueberroth offered a baseball morsel worth chewing: the World Series ought to be dealer's choice.

This will not be a topic that, like drugs, requires the commissioner of baseball's near-constant attention. Neither will it occupy as much time as the "expansion/relocation issue," from which every right-thinking human on the globe knows will result in a franchise for Washington.

What Ueberroth wants -- and may well push past a few spiteful owners -- is a change in the designated hitter rule: when the games are in the American League team's park, use the DH; when they're in the National League team's park, don't.

It's stupid enough now that each league plays a different game the entire 162-game season -- and worse that one has the advantage over the other during the World Series. In even years, we see nine-man baseball. In odd years, the fare is the 10-man game.

The every-other-year goofiness was passed during Bowie Kuhn's reign as World Series night watchman, long before anyone outside the travel business recognized Ueberroth.

"It's one of those votes that still requires three-fourths (of the owners to approve) and complicated in both leagues," Ueberroth said. "So five guys can stop (a change).

"If that vote comes up again, you may see the commissioner overrule it. I'll kinda be watching this a little more carefully."

He was speaking to the heavy, although not entirely overweight, hitters of The Washington Post sports department -- and in a fancy joint that serves small slices of bread every 12 seconds but no cheeseburgers.

The commish also was the only one whose costume would not blend in well at a funeral, he having all but stepped off the tennis court after being clobbered by American League President Bobby Brown.

He was "encouraged" by Washington's enthusiasm for a new team and publicly noncommital about drugs until this Series ends.

On most baseball matters, Ueberroth said, "my view isn't very important. I've just been a guy who's watched this game all my life. Kept score and followed the box scores. "I should have no more weight than anybody else."

Except he does.

And plans to use it with the DH situation.

"It's like I overruled one plan where there was a transfer of ownership," he said, "with five votes against and 21 for. But the five could stop the 21.

"(That was) simple to overrule. I understand that's about what this came down to last time, five or six votes stopping it . . . and the reason it was turned down was kind of a spite vote. I don't know why anybody functions that way."

Forgive his baseball bafflement. Ueberroth has been on the job just one year.

Everyone to his own view, but I cannot understand why anyone would pay to watch a pitcher hit. I'm for the DH, same as I'm for most specialists in most other businesses.

The general practitioner was useful in his time, kindly and well-meaning.

But when a piece of bone snaps off my right knee, I value someone obsessed with the right knee more than a soothing bedside manner.

Most pitchers hit the same way I speak Russian. Once in a while they stumble onto something correct.

Wisely, the American League allows pitchers to bat, but does everything to discourage it.

So in odd-numbered years, AL pitchers have the same chance of doing something wonderful at the plate as Ueberroth and every other fan. It's like asking a trout to tap-dance on a beach ball.

The fair way to deal with both leagues is the one Ueberroth favors: "You play in your park (during the World Series) what you play in your park (the rest of the year)."

Poker is about the only appropriate analogy, for our other major sports are blessedly bright enough not to confuse and frustrate us with two sets of rules for one game.

Only if the Eastern Conference of the NBA suddenly permitted a designated dead-eye to hop off the bench to shoot free throws for centers, would there be comparable nonsense.

Hal McRae was a major reason the Royals won the American League pennant this season. As the DH, he is limited to pinch hitting against the Cardinals.

No way should, say, Bret Saberhagen, amass more at bats than McRae.

Every coach in every sport repeats the familiar cliche: You dance with who brung ya.

Except Kansas City Manager Dick Howser.

Back to why the World Series should resemble poker. Whoever deals names the game, no matter how many kings are wild or what it takes to open.

Same with the Series. In Kansas City, the Royals deal. In St. Louis, you play the Cardinals' game.

"I see a kind of consensus," Ueberroth said of his conversations with players, umpires, executives, fans, writers and other observers of baseball.

He said this consensus agrees with his preference for making the best of a bad situation: logical compromise. Without promising Willie Wilson-like speed, Ueberroth wants this error corrected as quickly as possible.

Good show.