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Commissioner endorses Rays’ latest stadium pursuit

The league directive is “to explore all of the available options in the Tampa Bay region to get ... a first-class, major-league facility.”
A rendering of the proposed Rays stadium and surrounding redevelopment as envisioned by the team and the Hines real estate group.
A rendering of the proposed Rays stadium and surrounding redevelopment as envisioned by the team and the Hines real estate group. [ Courtesy of Gensler architectural firm ]
Published Dec. 7, 2022

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred sounds like he is onboard with the Rays’ efforts to get a new stadium built by partnering in a bid for the redevelopment of the Tropicana Field site.

“I think (principal owner) Stu Sternberg is doing what the Executive Council and I have indicated that he should be doing,” Manfred said in a session with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America at the winter meetings in San Diego.

“He is trying to explore all of the available options in the Tampa Bay region to get a facility that is a first class, major-league facility and improves the economic situation of the Rays.”

The Rays’ bid, partnered with the Hines company, includes a stadium with a roof and side windows that open and a capacity of around 30,000.

Manfred said in July he “always thought” a Tampa site “would be preferable in some respects,” but also that location was not the only factor. In October, he said he had “a lot of faith in” in Sternberg and “I think they will find a place to get a ballpark built and I think baseball can thrive in Tampa.”

Manfred had much stronger words about this being a key year in the Athletics’ stadium situation, as they have been trying to get a new facility built in Oakland but also are exploring a move to Las Vegas.

“We’re past any reasonable timeline for the situation in Oakland to be resolved,” Manfred said.

He also said that if the A’s move, their relocation fee will be waived.

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