Manfred To Tampa: Build A Rays’ Stadium

MLB wants to move the Rays to Tampa.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred does not think of himself or his business as beggars so he probably doesn’t subscribe to the theory, beggars can’t be choosy, even though MLB and the owners of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team are begging some Tampa Bay area municipality for money for a new stadium come 2028. Manfred said he’d prefer Rays ownership building a new ballpark on the other side of the bay in Tampa rather than stay in St. Petersburg. But Manfred does acknowledge that people on the other side of the bay might not be able to produce a financial package that is required to build a baseball park that will more than likely have a price tag of a billion dollars.

Manfred said, “I have always thought that a stadium on the other side of the causeway would be preferable in some respects. But there’s a variety of factors that have to be taken into account in terms of determining whether you’re going to be in St. Pete or in Tampa. What financing is available? What sites are available? How quickly you can get in the ground? It’s not just the location.” The year 2028 seems far in the future but for the Tampa Bay Rays’ ownership, it is around the corner. The Rays’ ownership lease with St. Petersburg is done in five seasons and time is beginning to grow short in the planning and eventual construction of a new ballpark for the 2028 season. It takes a number of years to get money and then build a stadium. It would also be helpful if there was a plot of land available for a stadium in Tampa or St. Petersburg. In 2018, there was a Tampa area stadium proposal to build That stadium in Ybor City but it never gained traction.

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Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell celebrates the end of the fifth inning with catcher Mike Zunino against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the baseball World Series Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)