NEW YORK — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics need to reach new stadium deals soon and left open the strong possibility of considering relocation if they don’t.
“There is urgency about Tampa,” Manfred said Thursday during a news conference after an owners meeting. “There has to be a resolution in the Tampa Bay region for the Rays.”
Tampa Bay’s lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the team has played since its inaugural season in 1998, expires after the 2027 season. The Rays said in January that MLB had rejected the team’s plan. to split his season between Florida and Montreal.
“Obviously the end of that lease is a tough deadline, but you have to keep in mind that stadiums take a while to build, don’t they?” Manfred said. “So we’re getting to the point where wherever it is in the region that has an interest in having 162 baseball games, they need to get to that, be with the club. I know the Rays are itching to do something and see if it can be done.” reach an agreement”.
When asked if he was considering relocation, Manfred replied, “Right now, I’m focused on Tampa,” emphasizing “right now” and then adding that he was referring to the region, not the specific side of the bay. “I think a great man once said that all good things must come to an end at some point. And right now we’re focused on Tampa.”
The A’s have played at the Coliseum since 1968 and their lease expires after the 2024 season. The A’s have proposed a new ballpark at Howard Terminal and are working with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf to get the necessary approvals. .
“There’s really significant activity in Oakland. The political process has moved on significantly,” Manfred said. “I met with Mayor Schaaf last week. She has done a very good job moving the process forward in Oakland. But as everyone knows, California’s political processes are their own kind of animal. There is work to be done on the Oakland. I think the A’s have wisely continued to look for the Las Vegas alternative. We like Las Vegas as a market. Again, it’s in the same category as Tampa. We need a solution in both markets and the time has come for that. solution”.
Oakland has averaged a major league-low 8,283 fans this season and the Rays are 25th with 13,740, also ahead of Miami, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
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Manfred doesn’t rule out relocation of Rays and A’s