Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth said yesterday he expects discussion regarding possible relocation of the Houston Astros when baseball's 26 owners convene Monday for a regularly scheduled meeting in New York.
Ueberroth, in town to testify before the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, said he has not yet spoken with Astros owner John McMullen about reports that McMullen might move the team to Washington.
"[The Astros situation] is not on the agenda, but somehow I'm sure it will find its way into our discussion," said Ueberroth.
Ueberroth told the House committee that Congress must step up the nationwide battle against harmful drug use. He said that with a recent rise in the potency of smuggled drugs accompanied by a decrease in street price, "before long, we may be beyond the chance to win."
"If we declare war on the terrorists in Tripoli, when are we going to declare war on terrorists bringing the poisons into our country?" Ueberroth said in a packed hearing room. "We are losing the war against drugs. It's tearing the country apart, yet we're divisive . . . not making it a national priority."
Ueberroth said, "I'm angry, I'm scared and I'm committed to helping this country declare war on cocaine and marijuana. Baseball is defeating the problem. It's over. You're not going to hear about any baseball [drug] scandals from this day forward. The institution of baseball has returned a proper dignity to itself and we hope to be an example to other industries."
Ueberroth said that drug testing in the minor leagues, which revealed "very unsatisfactory" results a year ago, since has reduced drug use among minor league players to an "infinitesimal" level.
When pressed by a committee member, Ueberroth declined to cite how many baseball players have been involved with illegal drugs. He said "there is not a single solution [to ending drug use], not in baseball or in the workplace."
Ueberroth told the committee the most vital first step for an industry to curb drug use "is to design a program. If you're fighting a war, you have to make different decisions in each battlefield."