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Thursday, June 16, 2022

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland A’s need new ballpark deals soon

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics need to reach new ballpark deals soon and left open the possibility of considering relocation if agreements are not struck.

“There is urgency with respect to Tampa,” Manfred said Thursday during a news conference following an owners meeting. “There needs to be a resolution in the Tampa Bay region for the Rays.”

Tampa Bay’s lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the team has played since its inaugural season in 1998, expires after the 2027 season. The Rays said in January that MLB had rejected the team’s plan to split its season between Florida and Montreal.

“Obviously, the end of that lease is a hard deadline, but you need to take into account that stadiums take a little bit of time to build, right?” Manfred said. “So we are getting to the point where wherever it is in the region that has an interest in having 162 baseball games, they need to get to it, get with the club—I know the Rays are anxious to get something done—and see if a deal can be made.”

Asked whether he was considering relocation, Manfred responded: “Right now, I’m focused on Tampa,” putting emphasis on “right now” and later adding he was referring to the region, not the specific side of the bay. “I think a great man once said, all good things must end at some point. And but right now we’re focused on Tampa.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 16, 2022 at 09:57 PM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, rays, rob manfred

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   1. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 16, 2022 at 11:17 PM (#6082331)
Oakland needs a new ballpark, but the Rays need a new city, like Montreal.
   2. Jack Sommers Posted: June 17, 2022 at 12:20 AM (#6082351)
Build the freaking park in Oakland,

Move the Rays to Arizona, and the D-backs to Las Vegas or the moon.
   3. John Northey Posted: June 17, 2022 at 12:35 AM (#6082355)
Florida has shown a near total lack of interest in baseball. The Rays and Marlins (despite a new park) have cracked 2 million fans a total of 4 times between them (1 Tampa, 3 Miami) take away their first seasons and you are down to 2 (both Miami) - the 2 non-opening seasons were when Miami opened their new park, and the season when Miami won the World Series for the first time. That's it. Montreal, in an earlier time when 2 million was as rare as 3 million is now, did it 4 times (1979-1980-1982-1983) - safe to say they would've done it in 1981 without the strike (on pace for it easily). Without the 1994 strike they might have had the push in September with that great team to reach it again (Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker both future HOF'ers early in their careers plus many other very good players) and who knows what would've happened if they played the rest of that year. Sigh.

Bottom line though - 2 teams in Florida combined in an era when 2 million is common only have as many times reaching as the Expos did in their lifetime, which was done in a horrid stadium in a bad location (I saw a game there in 1994 and with over 35k it felt empty).

Move the Rays to Montreal and you'll see far, far better crowds and better TV ratings. Both Miami and Tampa get under 100k watching each game, but the Jays with all of Canada to themselves get 500k+ a game and over 1 million often. Safe to say a new Expos would get 100k-200k easily especially if they were the ex-Rays with a contender every year.
   4. John Northey Posted: June 17, 2022 at 12:36 AM (#6082356)
Also, haven't baseball commissioners said this about those 2 teams for decades now? Especially Oakland? I expect Oakland to move to Vegas soon.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: June 17, 2022 at 12:38 AM (#6082358)
“Obviously, the end of that lease is a hard deadline, but you need to take into account that stadiums take a little bit of time to build, right?”

I don't recall any of my landlords being required to build me a new house when my lease expired.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: June 17, 2022 at 01:02 AM (#6082364)
which was done in a horrid stadium in a bad location (I saw a game there in 1994 and with over 35k it felt empty).


There's no way that Montreal's park was more horrid/poorly located than Tampa's, at least in comparison to the rest of the big league parks then vs. now.

Move the Rays to Montreal and you'll see far, far better crowds and better TV ratings.


Tampa's TV ratings are fine.

Montreal may well better be a better market than Tampa, but I'm sure if baseball returns there, it will once again become one of the league's bottom markets, as it was for all of my baseball watching lifetime.

As for Miami, it's hard to say whether the city will ever support the franchise, given that the club's fans have repeatedly been given the treatment that led to 9,800 Expos fans a game at the end of the run in Montreal.
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 17, 2022 at 01:25 AM (#6082374)
Move the Rays to Montreal . . .
A publicly-financed state-of-the-art stadium and a big bucks ownership group are requirements today. Neither seem to be in view in Montreal.

Florida’s population continues to grow, and I doubt MLB will abandon the area anytime soon. The Marlins sold for $1.2B recently. There’s money to be made there.
   8. Bhaakon Posted: June 17, 2022 at 04:24 AM (#6082382)
Move the Rays to Oakland and the A's to Tampa. Done.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 17, 2022 at 09:51 AM (#6082403)
Montreal may well better be a better market than Tampa, but I'm sure if baseball returns there, it will once again become one of the league's bottom markets, as it was for all of my baseball watching lifetime.


The Expos got good for the first time in 1979, and their attendance responded, growing to 2.1 million, fourth in the National League. They were 4th, 3rd, 3rd and 3rd in attendance the next four years. Then they had an off year in 1984 while the Jays were becoming a contender in the AL, and the Expos were never in the top half of the NL in attendance again.
   10. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: June 17, 2022 at 11:00 AM (#6082417)
$1.2bn is basically embarrassingly little in the current economy of sports franchises. I doubt you could get any other Franchise for that little, except maybe the Rays.
   11. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 17, 2022 at 11:42 AM (#6082431)
Montreal even to this day has an abiding love for the Expos. Tampa has never shown even the slightest love for the Rays. Move the Rays back to Montreal and re-create the Expos. Then maybe the Marlins can go back to being the Florida Marlins, and have some chance of becoming a successful franchise.

One of the problems the A's have is the success of the basketball Warriors. The A's just don't register in the consciousness of Oakland and the Bay Area right now. Will a new ballpark fix that? I don't know. The Bay Area is probably the most advanced/sophisticated market in the country. You might get more audience for a WNBA franchise or perhaps even an international cricket franchise, rather than an MLB franchise right now. People are pretty sophisticated in the Bay Area, and outside the Giants, MLB and A's are a niche sport right now.
   12. BDC Posted: June 17, 2022 at 12:28 PM (#6082446)
Is the Olympic Stadium in Montreal hard to get to by car? Bad parking? I remember going there by public transit, and it seemed convenient enough.

It was certainly a strange cavernous place. Odd acoustics, compounded by a fan culture that was the inverse of American baseball stadiums. You know how you go to a game in the US and everybody's hopping around and yelling and they have all this canned noise going perpetually, very little relation to the play. In Montreal, at least in the 1980s, I remember silence until they actually threw a pitch. Then, in proportion to how interesting the situation got, the fans got more & more into it. There was none of this "two strikes on some random batter with nobody on in the third inning, MAKE SOME NOISE!!" stuff.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 17, 2022 at 12:50 PM (#6082454)
$1.2bn is basically embarrassingly little in the current economy of sports franchises. I doubt you could get any other Franchise for that little, except maybe the Rays.
There are five MLB teams currently valued at less than $1.2B, according to Forbes.
   14. Jay Seaver Posted: June 17, 2022 at 12:51 PM (#6082455)
I went to Stade Olympique for one of the pre-season expositions, and while it's not as central as the most recent proposed location, it's pretty easy on the Metro and if it's hard to get to by car/bad parking, it doesn't seem to bother the families coming to the Biodome/tower/botanical gardens in the same complex. If the team and city/province (not sure who owns it) were to commit to it being primarily a baseball stadium, maybe make the roof retractable, it could be a decent one. It'd still look like a spaceship, but that's kind of cool.

And, yeah, they are still pretty fond of Les Expos there; those games got loud and the cheers for former Expos were huge (heck, remember when they were calling for Vlad Jr before his rookie season?). An AL East team would have a ready-made rivalry with Toronto. It feels obvious enough that I half-suspect Sternberg is trying to thread the line between running out the clock on the lease in St. Pete and trying to keep the value up for whoever eventually buys it.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: June 17, 2022 at 01:31 PM (#6082478)
The Expos got good for the first time in 1979, and their attendance responded, growing to 2.1 million, fourth in the National League. They were 4th, 3rd, 3rd and 3rd in attendance the next four years. Then they had an off year in 1984 while the Jays were becoming a contender in the AL, and the Expos were never in the top half of the NL in attendance again.


But even when their attendance was good, they still had issues, some due to the language, some to the exchange rate. It seemed they struggled with media deals. And they were selling off good players before it was cool.

Tampa has never shown even the slightest love for the Rays. Move the Rays back to Montreal and re-create the Expos.


As mentioned many times, Tampa's TV and radio ratings are fine. It seems the folks of the other Bay Area don't want to spend much time in what is unquestionably baseball's worst ballpark that's also difficult to get to.

Montreal even to this day has an abiding love for the Expos.


And I believe this is an overly romanticized view of the Expos. They were the obvious contraction target for multiple reasons, not just because Jeffrey Loria is terrible.
   16. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: June 17, 2022 at 01:35 PM (#6082480)
There are five MLB teams currently valued at less than $1.2B, according to Forbes.

I mean, you could read your own source, and see who is at the bottom of said list.

Forbes has a long and storied history of underrating how much teams are worth.
   17. . Posted: June 17, 2022 at 01:53 PM (#6082487)
It was certainly a strange cavernous place. Odd acoustics, compounded by a fan culture that was the inverse of American baseball stadiums. You know how you go to a game in the US and everybody's hopping around and yelling and they have all this canned noise going perpetually, very little relation to the play. In Montreal, at least in the 1980s, I remember silence until they actually threw a pitch. Then, in proportion to how interesting the situation got, the fans got more & more into it. There was none of this "two strikes on some random batter with nobody on in the third inning, MAKE SOME NOISE!!" stuff.


Actually, in the late 70s/early 80s, the Expos crowds always sang, that song "Val de ree, val de rah, val de ree, val de rah ha ha ha ha ha" which I always thought was pretty cool, especially when they showed Donald Sutherland singing along.

Obviously never knew whether that was spontaneous or prompted. Or how long that remained a thing.

I grew up about 100 miles from Canada (Windsor, ON) and we got the Detroit papers delivered and I always saw the TV sports listings that included all the CBC games and always kind of wished we could get them. Somehow, for the famous Phillies/Expos final series of 1980, I was futzing around on my smallish TV on the Friday night of the first game and was able to get the game on Channel 9 from Windsor with an actually not bad picture. Same thing for the second game. Watched every pitch of both and the memory has kind of stuck with me and it's kind of the first association thing that hits my head when the Expos are the topic. It was great baseball and CBC did a great job and it was a massive series, but a lot of the fun was probably the thrill of the chase to get it.
   18. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 17, 2022 at 01:58 PM (#6082490)
It was still a thing in 1981 at least. I remember the Dodgers mockingly singing it after the Blue Monday game.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: June 17, 2022 at 06:53 PM (#6082582)
The Expos got good for the first time in 1979, and their attendance responded, growing to 2.1 million, fourth in the National League. They were 4th, 3rd, 3rd and 3rd in attendance the next four years.

And from 1989-92, the A's were 2nd, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, topping out at 2.9 M and, if memory serves, they even had the #1 payroll in 1992.

Montreal metro is 4.3 M people which is much larger than any available US market (assuming a 3rd team into NY or LA metro is off the table) but of course hasn't had baseball for a long time and baseball's not exactly the centre of Montreal's sporting culture. I've never had the privelege of visiting Montreal (got close once) but I suspect that baseball in Montreal will be a lot like baseball in Miami (metro pop of 6.1 M).
   20. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 17, 2022 at 07:48 PM (#6082589)
It seems the folks of the other Bay Area don't want to spend much time in what is unquestionably baseball's worst ballpark that's also difficult to get to.


Really, the Oakland Coliseum is easy to get to, perhaps the easiest thing to get to in the greater Bay Area. It has a BART station right next to it, a generous parking lot (and a lot of folks park for free in the BART parking lot if it's not full), and very easy freeway access from 1 freeway (I-880) and relatively easy freeway access from another one (I-580), and is therefore quite a bit more accessible than "Oracle Park" or whatever the Giants' stadium is called now.

And in fact, the Oakland Coliseum actually can be a pretty pleasant place to watch a ballgame, despite what the A's real-estate-marketing mafia want you to believe.





   21. Howie Menckel Posted: June 17, 2022 at 08:03 PM (#6082591)
I grew up about 100 miles from Canada (Windsor, ON)

I remember a bunch of us driving from Detroit to Windsor, thru a tunnel to .... er, see some entertainment.

it was not an athletic event, however - unless one wants to use a broad definition of the term.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: June 17, 2022 at 08:22 PM (#6082594)
Really, the Oakland Coliseum is easy to get to, perhaps the easiest thing to get to in the greater Bay Area.


As noted, I was talking about the other Bay Area.
   23. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 17, 2022 at 08:25 PM (#6082595)
it was not an athletic event, however - unless one wants to use a broad definition of the term.
We see what you did there.
   24. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 17, 2022 at 08:33 PM (#6082596)
As noted, I was talking about the other Bay Area


Apologies, some how I didn't get that.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: June 17, 2022 at 09:59 PM (#6082620)
it was not an athletic event, however - unless one wants to use a broad definition of the term.

Surely pole dancing will be an Olympic sport by 2032.
   26. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: June 18, 2022 at 08:52 AM (#6082655)
Move the Rays to Oakland and the A's to Tampa. Done.

No, no, no. Move the A's to Kansas City, the Royals to Philadelphia, the Phillies to Tampa, the Rays to San Jose, and the Expos to Washington. (Yes, again.) Checkmate, atheists!
   27. Howie Menckel Posted: June 18, 2022 at 10:55 AM (#6082671)
As noted, I was talking about the other Bay Area.

indeed
   28. Tony S Posted: June 18, 2022 at 12:40 PM (#6082682)
The Expos outdrew the defending World Champion Cardinals in 1983.
   29. depletion Posted: June 18, 2022 at 01:17 PM (#6082685)
This may not be the best economic time to be asking to $3B or so to build a baseball stadium. I suppose there's a precedent for a new team in a city that had a "failed" franchise (Milwaukee, Kansas City, Seattle). It sure seems like tempting fate to drop a crap load of cash going to Montreal. Indianapolis hasn't made any noises about wanting MLB? Perhaps they could have a good regional rivalry with the Reds, Cards and Cubs.
   30. Bruce Chen's Huge Panamanian Robot Posted: June 19, 2022 at 06:19 PM (#6082843)
“I think a great man once said, all good things must end at some point.


Manfred is an empty suit.
   31. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: June 19, 2022 at 08:19 PM (#6082853)
Indianapolis hasn't made any noises about wanting MLB?

Not since the Hoosiers became the Newark Pepper. (Yes, singular.)
   32. Der-K's tired of these fruits from poisoned trees Posted: June 19, 2022 at 09:27 PM (#6082854)
In the mid-80s, they (Indy) tried to lure a team (Pirates, A’s) into moving, woulda become the Arrows. Don’t recall that their attempts to get a park made any progress.

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