The D.C. Baseball Commission has hired the lobbying firm of Michael Deaver, former White House deputy chief of staff, to help prepare a presentation to major league baseball's long-range planning committee during a special two-day meeting on expansion next week in New York.
Pam Bailey, an associate at Deaver's firm, confirmed yesterday that, "We're helping (the commission) put together information" for the presentation, which is scheduled for Nov. 7. Bailey said it is uncertain whether Deaver will participate in the presentation, but that if he did, "it would be in a supportive role."
Deaver could not be reached for comment.
Bob Pincus, president of the D.C. National Bank and a member of the baseball commission, said, "We are not expecting (Deaver) to go to New York. (Deaver's firm) is going to help us assemble a package for the commissioner and long-range planning committee that will show the uniqueness of the Washington metropolitan area. It's almost like a marketing study of the region."
Twelve cities/areas hoping to acquire an expansion team have been invited to make a one-hour presentation next Thursday and Friday: Washington, Denver, Indianapolis, Miami, Phoenix, Vancouver, Tampa, New Orleans, New Jersey, St. Petersburg, Buffalo and Columbus, Ohio. Sources indicate that Tampa and St. Petersburg will make a joint presentation.
Although the long-range planning committee is not expected to make a final decision on expansion at this meeting, it's likely that there will be a clearer picture as to which cities are the best qualified. A more definitive decision on expansion is expected at the league's annual winter meetings in San Diego in December.
Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who will take part in next week's screening session, told The Washington Post last week, "I think there'll be a weeding-out process (among prospective expansion cities) now."
"This is a very significant meeting," said Pincus. "I think the members of the long-range planning committee will make recommendations to the full major leagues."
The commission will not pay for the study done by Deaver's firm.
"We'll pay for the brochures and packages, but not for the (firm's) time," Pincus said. "Our season-ticket campaign is a significant factor in all of this. It separates Washington from other cities. That we've been able to get more than 11,000 season-ticket pledges should help us establish the fact that the profile of this community has changed.
"We're still viewed as the city that couldn't support two (Senators) teams by some people."
The long-range planning committee recently was increased to 14 members, seven from each league.
AL President Bobby Brown will be joined by Haywood Sullivan (Boston), Jerry Reinsdorf (Chicago White Sox), Roy Eisenhardt (Oakland), George Steinbrenner (New York Yankees, replacing team president Eugene McHale), Peter Hardy (Toronto) and Jim Campbell (Detroit).
NL President Charles Feeney will be joined by Peter O'Malley (Los Angeles), Bill Giles (Philadelphia), John McMullen (Houston), John Madigan (Chicago Cubs), Charles Bronfman (Montreal) and Nelson Doubleday (New York Mets).
Rules established by the long-range planning committee specify that a city may have as many as five people take part in its presentation. Pincus said that the makeup of the D.C. group is still uncertain.
It's likely that both Pincus and D.C. Councilman Frank Smith, who also serves as baseball commission chairman, will be in the group. A member of Mayor Marion Barry's staff said yesterday that Barry is not planning to attend the meeting.