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UEBERROTH'S POWER PLAY
Commissioner Peter Ueberroth last week bypassed the Major League Baseball Players Association and took his drug-testing crusade directly to the players. Ueberroth sent a letter to each of the 650 major league players asking them to agree to three unannounced drug tests a season beginning next year. He also asked the 26 player representatives to poll team members on his proposal. He told the players they were in a position to "restore our good name."
Ueberroth's actions escalated his drug-testing war with the Players Association. He had already brought public pressure on the association last May when he ordered all nonunion employees of baseball—including players in the minor leagues—to be tested. The association had balked at mandatory testing, arguing that the voluntary drug-testing program negotiated in 1984 was working.
Ueberroth's latest power play seemed to have mixed results: Although the players criticized the commissioner's tactics and generally refused to vote on his proposals, player reps and union officials sounded more willing than before to negotiate possible changes in the drug-control program. As Chicago Cubs player rep Keith Moreland put it: "I'm not trying to make it sound like we're totally against things. What we are for is to go through proper procedures and work something out."
Ueberroth was buoyed by such sentiments. He said he perceived an "overwhelming consensus" that players had "expressed their clear belief that a drug-testing program is a viable solution," but that they wanted their union "to represent them in making arrangements for the program."
It apparently didn't bother the commissioner that his direct appeal to the players may have been an unfair labor practice. "Yes, the players want to remove this drug cloud from baseball," complained Gene Orza, associate general counsel for the union. "But we have a combined sadness and resentment that he made an end run around the association." A source at the National Labor Relations Board said, "If the union filed a charge accusing the commissioner of a violation—that he didn't go through proper channels, and that he pressured labor—yes, I could see somebody making that a plausible theory."
WE'RE REALLY FLATTERED, BUT...
Over the last decade Babson College has won three Division III national championships in soccer and one in hockey, five New England titles in skiing and two Massachusetts championships in women's tennis. It wasn't surprising, therefore, to open The Boston Globe the other day and find Babson ranked No. 10 in a preseason poll in New England in Division III football.
Trouble is, Babson doesn't have a football team.