MLB commissioner: Tampa Bay is viable market with 'right facility'
The optimism that the recent St. Petersburg City Council election will lead to progress in the Rays stadium situation has reached MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who expressed his support for the Tampa Bay market.
"I believe that Tampa-St. Pete is a viable major league market with the right facility," Manfred said Tuesday at the GM meetings in Boca Raton.
The change in Council as a result of the election is expected to lead to a deal to allow the Rays to look for sites throughout the Tampa Bay market, and Manfred said Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg believes they can find a solution.
"I've said this before, and it is not a dodge in this particular case, my views with respect to the situation in Tampa are largely derivative of Mr. Sternberg's views," Manfred said. "He is a very thoughtful and effective individual. He remains optimistic as a result of the factor you point to as well as others that something can be accomplished in Tampa-St. Pete."
Rays president Brian Auld said last week "we're optimistic that there's a deal to be reached. We really do want the city to manage its politics on its own but clearly the Rays were a bit of an issue in this election. And from what we've heard the next Council may be more amenable to a deal than the prior Council."