ORLANDO, FLA., JUNE 12 -- Commissioner Peter Ueberroth said today that major league baseball will expand "sooner than later," and that eventually he believes a total of 32 teams "makes the most sense, long-term."

Speaking at the Associated Press sports' editors convention here, Ueberroth declined to offer a timetable for expansion but did indicate there was some discussion of the issue at an owners' meeting in Philadelphia this week.

"The bottom line is that there's a lot more interest in it," he said. "We did not put it on the agenda {of the meeting} because then people want an announcement on it."

Ueberroth also did not want to talk about "what cities and when. But the reports I've read about the American League looking at it {expansion} more than the National League are accurate. There are good reasons for it."

After the session, he said there was only one main reason -- scheduling. With the American League now having 14 teams, two more than the NL, scheduling would be made easier with a total of 16 teams.

Ueberroth also said the three most important criteria in deciding on an expansion city are 1) the stadium being owned or controlled by the baseball team; 2) local ownership with roots in the community, and 3) long-term political support in the community.

On another issue, Ueberroth said he is enlisting the help of Harry Edwards, a black sociologist at the University of California, in getting more minorities into baseball. He said Edwards would focus on getting former black and Hispanic players who had relatively short careers back in the game, either on or off the field. He also said Edwards would work on helping to prepare active players for life after baseball.

"He is not coming to work for me. He is going to stay a professor at Berkeley. He is going to help in a project we'll announce later. We're trying to look at the Sparky Anderson/Tommy Lasorda phenomenon, players who had very short playing careers who are back in the major leagues. What about black and Hispanic players with short careers? There are several hundred of them. Where are they? Can we retrain them? Harry is good at that."