Rob Manfred definitely done as MLB commisioner after 2029: 'You can only have so much fun'

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Thursday.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Thursday.

TAMPA, Fla. — Rob Manfred can see the end from here. And he's also certain when he'll step away as Major League Baseball commissioner.

Manfred on Thursday stated explicitly that he will retire when his final five-year term expires in 2029. Manfred was first elected commissioner after multiple ballots in August 2014 and was awarded two five-year extensions by owners.

Aspring commissioners have until the end of this decade for their résumés to be polished.

"Look, I’m 65," Manfred told reporters at Grapefruit League media on the first day of workouts at the New York Yankees' complex. "I just started a five-year term. You can only have so much fun in one lifetime.

"I have been open with (owners) that this is going to be my last term. I said it to them before the last election in July."

Manfred's tenure has been marked by his aggression, be it in collective bargaining agreements, rules changes and perhaps most infamously his imposing of a lockout after the 2021 season, leading to a nearly four-month impasse with the MLB Players' Association.

More recent innovation, such as installing a pitch clock, have played to better reviews.

Yet one issue Manfred feels will not be resolved by 2030 is expansion. The Oakland Athletics' move to Las Vegas — likely not a net positive when the Manfred legacy is examined — along with uncertainty in TV distribution and revenue and franchise values have put his dreams of a 32-team league on the back burner.

"I hope I’m here to go to Opening Day (in new stadiums) as commissioner for both Tampa Bay and Las Vegas," says Manfred. "Expansion, I don’t think realistically those clubs will be playing before I’m finished. I would like to have the process in place and operating before that."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rob Manfred will retire as MLB commissioner in 2029