Rob Manfred: Rays, baseball can thrive in Tampa Bay area

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred expressed optimism Friday night that the Rays will find a new stadium and thrive in the Tampa Bay area.

“I think (with) a properly located facility in (the) Tampa (Bay area), that Tampa’s a viable major-league market,” Manfred told SiriusXM radio. “I’ve got a lot of faith in (Rays principal owner) Stu Sternberg. I think they will find a place to get a ballpark built and I think baseball can thrive in Tampa.”

Manfred, who often says Tampa when referring to the area-wide market, made his comments at the World Series when asked by host Chris Russo about the Oakland and Tampa Bay markets.

He was not optimistic about the A’s staying in Oakland.

“I think the mayor in Oakland has made a huge effort to try to get it done in Oakland. It just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. …

“I think the A’s have proceeded prudently in terms of exploring the Las Vegas alternative, given the lack of pace in Oakland. I think they have to look for an alternative. I see Tampa differently.”

The Rays are having discussions about possible sites in both St. Petersburg and Tampa, but no specific proposals have been made.

In July, Manfred said a Tampa site would be preferable but that other factors had to be considered. “I have always thought that a stadium on the other side of the causeway would be preferable in some respects,” Manfred said in Los Angeles before the All-Star Game.

“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. Petersburg or Tampa — what financing is available, what sites are available, how quickly you can get in the ground.”

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