During a conference on Monday, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred discussed the Tampa Bay Rays ongoing search for a new ballpark.
For much of this year, the Rays have been fielding pitches for ballpark proposals in both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. That process has yielded numerous options, but the many of the key specifics–including where the ballpark will be located and how it will be funded–remained unresolved.
It is no secret that the Rays and MLB desire a modern venue to replace Tropicana Field. When discussing the process during a Q&A at the George Washington University School of Business, Manfred expressed some optimism that, with a new ballpark, the Rays would thrive in the Tampa Bay area. He also cited some of the region’s strengths, including its TV market.
However, Manfred was also clear in stating that he wants to see a solution sooner rather than later. The commissioner’s comments do not invoke a specific deadline, but he discussed his hope that there will be an “end game in the process. Here are some of his remarks, via the Tampa Bay Times:
“I think getting, not only a new facility, but a facility that is more appropriately located within the Tampa-St. Pete market would be good.
“Ultimately, there has to be an end game. If in fact, there’s not a site or there’s not a financial arrangement that’s viable and we become convinced of that, our rules allow for the possibility of relocation.
“At that point of desperation, it’s possible a team would be allowed to relocate.”
Manfred has been clear that he wants to see the ballpark issues of the Rays and Oakland A’s resolved sooner rather than later. Like the A’s, the Rays have made an active search in their current market, but Manfred’s comments certainly imply that relocation could be at least be a fallback option if the Rays come up short in their search in the Tampa Bay area.
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