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Manfred Hopeful on Rays Ballpark Search

Tampa Bay Rays

In remarks on Tuesday, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred indicated that the Tampa Bay Rays have time to complete their search for a new ballpark. 

The Rays are continuing to search the Tampa Bay area for the site of a new ballpark that, if constructed, would replace Tropicana Field, the team’s current home. However, the club has yet to come forward with its preferred site.

Manfred discussed the situation in recent comments. The commissioner noted some positive attributes of the Tampa Bay market, and said MLB is allowing the Rays to continue pursuing a new ballpark in the area. While Manfred did caution that there may come a point where the Rays need to look elsewhere, he stressed the the team is not yet at that point and is hopeful that it will find a solution. More from The Tampa Bay Times:

“I continue to believe Tampa (Bay) is a viable major-league market, and I also believe it may be better than the alternatives than we have out there,” Manfred said. “I am hopeful we get to a resolution.”

Manfred said they eventually could have to consider alternatives but — with active talks under way on both sides of the bay and a lease at Tropicana Field through 2027 — that is not yet the case.

“There does come a point in time where we have to accept the reality that a market, for whatever set of reasons, can’t get to the point that they have a major-league quality facility, and I am not going to indefinitely leave a club in a market without a major-league quality facility,” Manfred said.

The Rays were given permission by the City of St. Petersburg in January 2016 to consider both Pinellas County (where St. Petersburg is located) and Hillsborough County for a new ballpark site. The Rays’ ongoing search is not the only one that is unfolding in MLB, as the Oakland A’s are continuing to look for a longterm option in Oakland to replace the Coliseum.

Both team’s processes will be watched closely. Just this week, Manfred indicated that resolving the A’s and Rays’ ballpark searches could make it easier for MLB to consider expansion.

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