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NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: DODGERS 6, METS 3 : TURNABOUT? : Strawberry, Davis Stir Up a Reaction From Commissioner’s Office

Times Staff Writer

Having been hammered in two collusion decisions, Commissioner Peter Ueberroth’s office suggested Wednesday that it is considering a counter-punch.

“Recent statements made by Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis raise serious questions about tampering and possible collusion,” Ed Durso, the commissioner’s executive vice president, said in a prepared statement.

“We will evaluate the situation thoroughly and take action if appropriate, following the league championship series and World Series.”

Strawberry’s statements appeared in The Times Tuesday. The New York Mets right fielder said he intends to become a free agent when his contract expires after the 1990 season, with the hope that he and close friend Eric Davis, the Cincinnati Reds center fielder, could sign with the hometown Dodgers. Davis echoed those sentiments in the New York Post later.

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Free speech? Or a violation of a collective bargaining clause that reads: “Players shall not act in concert with other players and clubs shall not act in concert with other clubs?”

Reached at his New York office, Don Fehr, executive director of the Major League Players Assn., said Durso’s statement was a “poorly conceived public relations move.”

“It seems to me that if you’ve had a lot of bad press and been convicted twice of conspiracy and defrauding the players of millions of dollars, you grasp at straws,” Fehr said.

“I mean, it’s not tampering unless you have negotiations and dealings with a club, and as far as I can tell that’s not the case here.

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“Neither is it collusion because as far as I can tell it’s only a player musing about going home to play at some point in the distant future. That’s what free agency is all about.”


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