FD: Do you think it's conceivable that we're moving toward a time when baseball teams will be owned by their communities—like public parks or libraries?
PU: I hope not. In my opinion, that's a step toward socialism. But I think that a trend may be there. And I try to watch trends. There are seven sports bills in Washington now. [The bills deal with a variety of subjects, including franchise relocation, alcoholic beverage advertising and entertainment deductions.] In the middle of everything, problems with the deficit and world affairs, there are seven sports bills in Congress.
FD: Now, another trend. For the first time in four years, attendance was down slightly last season, .12 percent in the American League, 3.56 in the National? How do you deal with that?
PU: One thing we're tying a lot of our future to is family involvement. I think baseball is the best value and it's the best for the family. We saw to it this year that nobody broke the double-digit barrier. There's no ticket in major league baseball more than $9. We're establishing family sections, places that are kid-oriented. All sports have suffered from rowdyism and vulgarity, that sort of thing, and we're going to do our best to eliminate that problem in the few of our stadiums where it occurs. Stadiums—that's one place where I have had a little experience. We're going to do our best, everything from rest rooms to the better training of security people. I really applaud what Detroit did—going to low-alcohol beer throughout Tiger Stadium.
FD: What else are you seeking to accomplish in this area?
PU: Well, we have to return baseball players to the idol status they've always enjoyed in the past.
PU: First, by removing drugs from baseball. It's a huge undertaking, because all of society is suffering from that now. With the Olympics I had the opportunity to meet with some of the top law-enforcement leaders in our nation, right down to the beat cop, and all of them say the same thing to me, that cocaine is at the root of criminal problems in society and at the root of degrading society in our country. Cocaine's the No. 1 problem. Clearly, far and away. But it's also No. 2 and No. 3. It's all related to that. Now, having said that, baseball's not worse than any other part of society. Probably less than some. But because we're so visible, I think we have an extra responsibility. To show it can be done.
FD: How can it be done?
PU: That's long and complicated. It's built on trust and players helping players. It's not grandstanding and saying we're going to ban somebody for life. It's saying if somebody has a problem, let's catch it, let's detect it. Let's help him get rid of his problem, and let's try and return him to society and baseball.