Rob Manfred Receptive To A's Proposed Ballpark Site, Wants Progress With Rays' Effort
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the A's chosen ballpark site near Laney College in downtown Oakland has "some really appealing aspects." But he acknowledged, as with any site, that "there are going to be issues ... and there's no perfect place to build a ballpark." Manfred: "One of the things that we've learned about building ballparks, particularly in urban areas, is that they have a way -- miraculously or otherwise -- of improving the overall development around them. And if the A's can get this done, it would be another example of that" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In S.F., John Shea writes there are "other concerns" with the Laney College site. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has stated a "preference for the Howard Terminal site" near the Bay waterfront, and there also is concern with the Laney College site over the "impact on the neighborhood and displacement of businesses and residents." Traffic and "costs of the surrounding infrastructure" would also be an issue, while parking would be "extremely limited." Manfred said of Schaaf's preference for another site, "My conversations with the mayor have led me to believe she's supportive of a plan to keep the Oakland A's in Oakland. She's been unwavering in that position" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/17).
KEEPING THINGS MOVING: In Tampa, Marc Topkin notes Manfred "made clear Thursday that identification of a site" for a new Rays ballpark is "merely the first step for area leaders to show they want to keep the team long-term and that there needs to [be] 'consistent forward movement' on the project." Manfred "likes the proposed location near Ybor City, which he saw during an August visit, and feels it is workable." Overall, he shares Rays Owner Stu Sternberg's "better-than-cautious optimism about the site." But Manfred is "not prepared to say this is the last chance or what would happen if the effort fails, as the Rays are contracted to play at Tropicana Field" through '27 (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/17). Topkin also notes Manfred "made clear, that the Rays and MLB need to see more -- a lot more -- than the plot of land." Manfred: "We need to figure out how the community can support an effort to keep baseball in Tampa (Bay)" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/17).