MLB’s Manfred still confident a Rays stadium will rise in Ybor

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks at a news conference at the annual MLB baseball owners meetings in 2017 in Orlando. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred speaks at a news conference at the annual MLB baseball owners meetings in 2017 in Orlando. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Published October 24 2018
Updated October 24 2018

BOSTON — As a key Dec. 31 deadline fast approaches in the Rays’ pursuit of a new stadium in Ybor City, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledged there is still "some work to do" to assemble a financing package.

Manfred said he continues to remain confident the $892-million project can be completed.

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But, speaking Wednesday before Game 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park, he made clear that Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg and his team need support from the business and civic community, which could make the next 67 days interesting.

"I love the site,’’ Manfred said. "I think in terms of its geographic location in the region it’s a good one. I think the historic relationship between baseball and Ybor City is a huge positive.

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"I think we have some work to do in terms of getting a financing plan together that will get that stadium built.

"But I remain confident if anybody can get it done in Tampa Bay, it’s Stu. Nobody is working harder at it.’’

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The Rays have until Dec. 31 to let St. Petersburg officials know if they will utilize a pre-negotiated deal to allow an early exit from the team’s contract to play at Tropicana Field. That contract runs through 2027. The Rays, however, hope to move into the new stadium in 2023.

Manfred also said in July that he was confidant a deal will get done.

"I feel about the same way,’’ the commissioner said Wednesday. "I can’t say I moved.’’

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