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Manfred Backs Oakland for New A’s Ballpark

Coliseum City, Oakland

During a meeting with the media at Major League Baseball‘s All-Star festivities, commissioner Rob Manfred said that the best option for a new Oakland A’s ballpark may lie in to Oakland.

The A’s search for a new ballpark has been an ongoing saga. Within the last decade, the team has made unsuccessful pitches for facilities in Freemont and San Jose, the latter of which fell through because of a territorial dispute with the San Francisco Giants.

Talks have been slow over the last few months in regards to a new ballpark. There have been some previous reports of the A’s being pitched new facilities on several sites around the city–including Howard Terminal–but discussions have never taken off, in part because of Oakland’s reluctance to provide public funding.

Despite the little progress that has been made, Manfred said MLB sees enough potential in the market to warrant keeping the team in Oakland. More from the AP:

Manfred says, “I am committed to Oakland as a major league site. If we were to leave Oakland, I think 10 years from now we would more likely than not be looking backwards saying we made a mistake.”

He adds, “Oakland is more likely than not to be a better market five years from now than it is today.”

One thing to keep in mind is that the A’s could very well be the only game in town. The Raiders are moving along with a proposal for a $1.4 billion stadium in Las Vegas and will have other options if that plan falls through. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors are still pushing for a new arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay–the Chase Center–and could move into that venue by 2019.

That would leave Oakland with just one major sports franchise. Whether that would open the discussion for public funding remains to be seen, but it may very well give the A’s some additional options in terms of location.

In weighing in on the A’s ballpark situation, Manfred reiterated a well-established vision for expansion in MLB. The commissioner is still open to increasing the number of teams to 32, but said that no expansion will occur until the A’s and Tampa Bay Rays are able to find new ballparks.

There have been some discussions this year between the Rays and local officials regarding sites in the Tampa Bay area, including some locations in Tampa. Those discussions are still in the early phases, meaning that even if a plan for a new ballpark is established, the team is still going to spend the next several years at Tropicana Field.

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