Manfred expresses doubts on A's Oakland stadium plan originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
As the Athletics work on making their plan for a new waterfront stadium in Oakland a reality, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t entirely sure the franchise’s vision for Howard Terminal will come to fruition.
Manfred joined SiriusXM’s Chris Russo for an interview ahead of Game 2 of the World Series on Friday night, where he spoke at length about both the A’s and Tampa Bay Rays’ quests to build new ballparks near their current sites.
While the commissioner expressed optimism in Rays ownership to construct a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, Manfred was doubtful of the current situation underway in Oakland.
“I think the mayor in Oakland has made a huge effort to try to get it done in Oakland,” Manfred told Russo (h/t Tampa Bay Times). “It just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen."
Manfred declined to talk to the media on Saturday and when asked to clarify his comments about the A's stadium project, the commissioner said, "I'm done talking about Oakland," per The Athletic's Britt Ghiroli.
The A’s have made significant leaps in their quest for a new ballpark at Howard Terminal, though it’s unlikely that there will be a binding vote by the Oakland City Council on the project in 2022.
Oakland mayoral candidate and District 6 councilmember Loren Taylor recently told NBC Sports Bay Area that even though the stadium project appears stalled at the moment, there is still progress being made behind the scenes.
“By some accounts, maybe less noise outside means that we’re getting more work done behind closed doors,” Taylor said. “We have a number of points that still need to be worked out before a final decision, not the least of which is the gap on infrastructure [costs] offsite.”
State and federal grants have been secured to fund the project, but due to inflation and other rising costs, the end goal has increased.
And while the A’s try to get a deal done in Oakland, the organization also has been exploring the option of relocating to Las Vegas -- something team president Dave Kaval has referred to as “parallel paths.”
When Manfred looks at the two situations, he understands why the A’s are entertaining a different route.
“I think the A’s have proceeded prudently in terms of exploring the Las Vegas alternative, given the lack of pace in Oakland,” Manfred told Russo. “I think they have to look for an alternative.”
Wherever the A's new stadium ends up, Manfred made it clear he believes the team "can't go five more years in the Coliseum" (h/t Casey Pratt, ABC7 News). The commissioner also emphasized that he doesn't know how the stadium saga will end.
Manfred said he sees the situation in Tampa differently, noting that “baseball can thrive” in the area.
A’s fans certainly would like to see baseball continue to thrive in Oakland after football left with the departure of the now-Las Vegas Raiders and the Warriors moved across the bay to San Francisco.
When -- or if -- that wish becomes reality remains to be seen.