In his boldest statement to date on the subject, Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth said today his sport was drug-free.
"Drugs are over in baseball," he said. "It's flat over. It's done because the players wanted it done . . . We'll be the first sport that can say such a thing."
Later, he hedged a bit, saying there still might be an "incident or two."
Ueberroth was at Memorial Stadium today as the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians opened the 1986 season.
Ueberroth, who proposed a comprehensive drug-testing plan for all players -- a plan the major league players union has said it will fight -- is attending opening day in Pittsburgh and Cleveland later this week. He said coming to the opening day of the Orioles, who have a voluntary drug-testing program, was symbolic of his support for drug testing.
"I'm pleased with this team that stood up and said, 'Enough of this problem,' " he said. "They solved it themselves, and that's basically how you solve a problem. They didn't want to talk about it anymore like I'm having to stand here today and talk about it. I didn't help them.."
He said he also attended because he wanted the Indians to know he appreciates the franchise pulling itself up by the "boot strap."
According to Ueberroth, more than half the members of the players union are involved in some form of drug-testing plan, but he wants 100 percent participation.
But some players said they are not pleased with Ueberroth's plan.
"Something should be done," said White Sox pitcher Richard Dotson. "But there's a right way to do it and a wrong way. He should work through the union. There are a lot of people against drug testing. It's a violation of our rights. If a player has drug problems, he should be tested. But others shouldn't be forced to do it."
Ueberroth said he felt confident the worst of baseball's drug problems were behind the sport because, "I've been in touch with people on both sides of the issue. Everyone is in agreement they want to be rid of the problem. The momentum is there.
"Baseball players don't like the fact their dignity has been scarred. Maybe I'm wrong. If I am, you can call my hand on it."
On the subject of expansion, Ueberroth again said it would occur, but he could offer no timetable.
He has asked the Long Range Planning Committee to divide the 12 cities that have expressed interest in a franchise into three groups: (a) most likely to get a team, (b) farther along and (c) no chance.